RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - New legislation in North Carolina aims to determine exactly how many untested rape kits there are in the state.

The state budget, enacted this week following a veto override, requires that local law enforcement agencies take inventory of their kits and report the findings to the State Crime Lab by Jan. 1.

The goal is that once there's a count on the kits, funding can be appropriated to begin testing them and eliminate any backlog.

The move is a first for North Carolina, which was one of several states without legislation regarding the testing of kits. Some legislators estimate that there could be thousands of untested kits statewide.

Victim advocate groups say testing the kits brings offenders to justice and helps victims begin the healing process.

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