Unclaimed casino winnings will pay for rape kit testing in Louisiana with new legislation


Without a single "nay" vote in their time in the Louisiana Legislature, a pair of bills that prevent rape victims from paying for their hospital exams are now headed to the desk of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to sign the legislation.

House Bill 143 from state Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, collects unclaimed gambling ticket winnings for the Crime Victims Reparations Board and creates a funding mechanism that hospitals can use to pay for rape exams and other treatment, while House Bill 835 standardizes sexual assault response in hospitals statewide. Last year, Jindal used two executive orders, following investigations by The Time-Picayune, to prevent victims from paying for those exams, which is in violation of the federal Violence Against Women Act. Despite some pushback from the Louisiana Casino Association, which absorbed those unclaimed winnings, the measures cleared the Louisiana House and Senate.

According to Moreno, unclaimed winnings could result in up to $1.5 million added to the victims fund each year, and hospitals will be able to bill the board for charges associated with a sexual assault exam.

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