Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update - Billy's Law (H.R. 3695) Co-Sponsors and Status

H.R. 3695: Billy's Law
111th Congress
To authorize funding for, and increase accessibility to, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, to facilitate data sharing between such system and the National Crime Information Center database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to provide incentive grants to help facilitate reporting to such systems, and for other purposes.


Rep. Christopher Murphy [D-CT5]
Eleanor Norton [D-DC]
Barton Gordon [D-TN6]
Maurice Hinchey [D-NY22]
Carolyn Maloney [D-NY14]
Thaddeus McCotter [R-MI11]
Walter Minnick [D-ID1]
Ted Poe [R-TX2]
Carol Shea-Porter [D-NH1]
Edward Whitfield [R-KY1]

Monday, November 16, 2009

Billy's Law Update and Plea for Support - Your Hands are Needed to Complete the Circle of Hope

H.R.3695 HELP FIND THE MISSING ACT (Billy's Law) has been introduced and we are asking if you would so kindly open the link : review and complete the easy questions in the box provided then hit send.  A letter will be sent to your Federal Congress person asking for support and co sponsorship

If your life has been personally touched by a missing person, please ADD COMMENTS  of your life altering experience, a brief history of the person, when and how you feel they they disappeared, your legislators will see the human aspect and  the need to support such a bill.

Please see the PDF for bill 

Filling in the Gaps of the Nation’s Missing Persons Systems 

Endorsed By:  National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Fraternal Order of Police, National Associations of Police Organizations (NAPO), Connecticut Department of Public Safety, National Forensic Science Technology Center, National Center for Forensic Science, Doe Missing Persons Network, Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, Inc., Peace4TheMissing, Please Help Find The Missing Group, Project EDAN, LostNMissing Inc., Center for Hope, CUECENTER,  Surviving Parents Coalition

Sponsored by Representatives Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ted Poe (R-TX) 

Current Cosponsors: Walt Minnick (ID-I), Ed Whitfield (R-KY)  Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)

We are appreciative of the endorsement for H.R. 3695 from the National Associations of Police Organizations. (NAPO)

Please click here for link to their endorsement letter:

This legislation is named after Billy Smolinski of Waterbury, Connecticut who went missing on August 24, 2004 at the age of 31. Billy’s family knows all-too-well the systemic challenges in trying to find the missing. They quickly learned that while federal law mandates law enforcement report missing children, there are no such requirements for adults – or unidentified bodies. Compounding this problem is the fact that local law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, and coroners, often don’t have the resources or training to voluntarily report these cases. Finally, even when missing adults and remains are reported, the wide-range of unconnected federal, state, local, and non-profit databases to help match the missing with unidentified bodies, makes finding a match an often insurmountable challenge. 

Billy’s Law builds upon recent efforts to address these issues by:
  • Authorizing, and therefore helping to ensure funding for, the National Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), which was created in July 2007 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide a missing persons/unidentified database that the public could access and contribute;
  • Connecting NamUs with the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in order to create more comprehensive missing persons and unidentified remains databases and streamlining the reporting process for local law enforcement;
  • Creating an incentive grants program to help states, local law enforcement and medical examiners/coroners report missing persons and unidentified remains to NCIC, NamUs, and the National DNA Index System (NDIS);
  • Calling on the DOJ to issue guidelines and best practices on handling missing persons and unidentified remains cases in order to empower law enforcement, medical examiners and coroners to help find the missing.
In closing, I thank you again for your review and hopeful support.  Should you have any questions or needs, I am sure that Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ted Poe (R-TX) would be honored to respond to your inquiries.

Please see the PDF of this very important bill:
by Janice Smolinski, Mother of Billy

Monday, October 19, 2009

Encourage Your Congressional Leaders to Pass H.R. 3695!

 Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5) was joined by family members of missing persons from Connecticut and local law enforcement officials on August 6, 2009 to announce that he is introducing federal legislation to help families find missing loved ones.

"Nobody should have to go through what the Smolinskis have gone through. Billy's Law will give more tools to families who are going through the heart wrenching experience of learning their loved one has gone missing. The systems we have in place now for law enforcement and medical examiners to use to help families find their loved ones don't talk to each other. That's inexcusable, and so the bill I am introducing fixes that problem, once and for all," said Murphy.

Murphy's legislation is named after Billy Smolinski of Waterbury, who went missing on August 24, 2004 at the age of 31. Billy's family has experienced many obstacles in searching for their missing son, including the fact that federal law mandates law enforcement report missing children, but not adults or unidentified bodies. While law enforcement can voluntarily report this information, a lack of resources and knowledge of the system often prevents them from doing so.

"The notion that we are living in a CSI society is nothing more than a television fantasy. My son Billy vanished five years ago, and in our efforts to find him we opened a Pandora's Box of problems plaguing the world of the missing and the unidentified dead. Just about anything that could go wrong in the effort to find our son went wrong. Law enforcement training has to catch up with science and technology and Congressman Murphy's act will ensure that it does," said Janice Smolinski, Billy's mother.

Every year tens of thousands of Americans go missing, never to be seen by their loved ones again. At the same time, there are also an estimated 40,000 sets of unidentified human remains that are being held or disposed of across the country, and no organized system to match cases and remains. Murphy's "Help Find the Missing Act" (Billy's Law) is an effort to fix the enormous gaps in the nation's missing persons systems and bring closure to the loved ones of the missing, while providing law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners the resources and guidance to do the reporting.

Billy's Law empowers families and loved ones of the missing to find justice by helping to secure funding for the only federal missing persons and unidentified remains database that can be cross-searched, accessed and added to by the public - the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). This database enables the loved ones of the missing to spend countless hours searching for a match and add invaluable information to the case profile that only they know.

The legislation helps to streamline the reporting process for law enforcement and medical examiners by connecting two major federal missing persons and unidentified remains databases- the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the NamUs. Connecting these databases makes them more comprehensive and more likely to lead to a missing person or unidentified remains match.
Billy's Law builds upon Connecticut's 2007 Law Enforcement and Missing Persons law as it calls for the issuance of broad recommendations for standards and procedures for law enforcement to follow in dealing with missing persons and unidentified remains

Rep. Vickie Nardello, who represents the 89th District which includes Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect, said: "I applaud Rep. Murphy's efforts to pass federal legislation to adopt uniformed procedures on how we handle missing persons. A national policy will be the culmination of Jan Smolinski's dreams and hard work. During the upcoming Connecticut legislative session we will continue to pursue additional reform of missing person procedures. With the help of law enforcement agencies we expect passage of this legislation in Connecticut."

Senator Joan V. Hartley, 15th Senatorial District said: "I first of all want to commend Congressman Murphy on the 'Help Find the Missing Act (Billy's Law)' initiative which is sorely needed not only in the 5th Congressional district but throughout the State of Connecticut as well as the United States. In this age of high speed data access and information, we should at the very least, be able to ensure that citizens and their families, especially in times of crisis, are provided every access to information in seeking to identify the whereabouts of the persons that they seek."