Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill ensuring sexual assault victims don’t pay examination costs
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed a bill into law that protects sexual assault victims from having to pay for medical examinations needed to collect evidence of the crime.
Under Senate Bill 1593, sponsored by Republican Sen. Sine Kerr of Buckeye, victims will not be charged for any medical or forensic interview or examination expenses.
“Charging victims of sexual crimes for their medical examinations is shameful, and we cannot let it happen in Arizona,” Ducey said in a press release. “There is no other crime where a victim is charged for the collection of evidence.
“Arizona will continue to stand up for victims and survivors and help protect them as they recover, and I thank everyone who supported this crucial legislation.”
Ducey, during his State of the State address in January when promising to crack down on the practice, said victims in the past have been charged as much as $800 for the examinations used by prosecutors.
The bill changing that had overwhelming support in Arizona Legislature, passing both branches unanimously with the exception of a few no votes.
The county in which the crime occurred will now handle the costs under the law, using either federal money or state funds that are appropriated by the legislature for the investigation expenses.
Health care institutions are also prohibited from charging an intake, consultation, facility or other fees to the patient as part of the forensic interview or examination process, along with billing a victim seeking care either directly or through a billing company.
The bill also expands the list of sexual offenses that counties are required to pay medical and forensic examinations costs for to include crimes against youth between the ages of 15 to 17, which were previously not included.