Bipartisan bills to aid homicide victims’ families, fund mental health services

Sen. Jon Ossoff
Sen. Jon Ossoff(Gray)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:26 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON D.C., (WRDW/WAGT) - The U.S. Senate has passed bipartisan legislation to aid federal homicide cold case victims and their families, assist in funding law enforcement, and fund mental health services.

Last week, the Senate passed the Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act of 2022. Co-sponsored by Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the bill will allow families to ask for a new investigation of a loved one’s murder where no evidence has been found so far.

With this bipartisan bill, once a homicide investigation becomes a cold case, family members may request a review of the investigation by the applicable agency with the goals of:

  • Analyzing the investigative steps used in the initial investigation to determine if any follow-up steps were overlooked,
  • Assessing whether witnesses should be interviewed or re-interviewed,
  • Examining the physical evidence to ensure all appropriate forensic testing and analysis was performed, and
  • Modernizing the file to bring it up to current investigative standards.

Click here to read the Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act of 2022.

Last night, the Senate also passed a bipartisan bill sponsored by Ossoff and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), that will fund training for first responders; crisis intervention teams; mental health courts; and other programs that help law enforcement assist individuals experiencing mental illness.

The bill will also fund new training to help first responders better recognize and assist individuals suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and will require a new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study for law enforcement and first responders who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in the line of duty.

The bill passed the U.S. House earlier this summer and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Click here to read the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act.

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