Sunday, January 31, 2010

Billy's Law Facts, Legislative Process Guide, Q&A

Congress, Billy's Law Facts, Guide, Q&A  -  Posted by Larrry Ramsdell in NamUs.Gov & Billy's Law/HR 3695 
I have created this discussion for a couple of different reasons, to point out a few facts, for you to respond on your progress on cosponsors from the Senate, and for any questions that you may have on the topic of Congressman and Senators. We will be checking from time to time and one of us will answer your questions ASAP.
First of all I would like to point out an important fact on Congress
Congressman are the U.S. House of Representatives...Senators make up the Senate...TOGETHER CONGRESSMAN AND SENATORS AS A GROUP IS CONGRESS.
 Click on the link above to find your Senators phone, email, addressee
A Few Tips For Filling Out This Form ...

After you click on the link, click choose a state...Both of your senators will appear....Then click on Web form which is (contact info).

As you are filling out the form you will get to A box marked choose a topic or issue, click on Homeland Security, most senators offer this if not click on Other. Finally you may have another box marked subject If so fill in HR3695 BILLY'S LAW.

NOTE: When filling out the message box if you have a personal story you would like to add why you are in support of this Bill, please do.

Senator Joe Lieberman of CT. Is The Sponsor of HR3695

If there are questions asked by your Senators DC office refer them to Senator Lieberman's DC office who will answer any questions or concerns
they may have.

When you are emailing or calling it is very important that you let
them know that Senator Lieberman is the sponsor of this bill. All
Senators do not have judiciary staffers, so you may speak with who
ever may answer the phone.

Learn more about the Help Find The Missing Act, H.R. 3695

Find out more about Billy's Law and NamUs.Gov by clicking HERE!

A centralized locale, Forum Discussion Group on Peace4 the Missing dedicated towards spreading Awareness of this "Vital For All Missing!" Bill ...

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Top Of Capitol Hill ~ United We Stand

A personal account testimony by Jan Smolinski

On January 21, 2010 the missing and unidentified voices echoed loud and clear in front of the subcommittee on Capitol Hill at 11:00 AM.

Our trip to DC started two days prior at 1:00 PM. My husband Bill Sr., John Murray (Journalist and owner of the Waterbury Observer) started our 6 hour drive to Washington DC. Anticipation and an enormous amount of emotions ran through my head but my final goal was to speak for our nations families and the daily nightmare they face.

The Silent Crisis needs to be revealed and be heard loud and clear.

The first night we had some extra time, checked into our hotel and met John in the lobby we walked to a local eatery called Potbelly's the food was tremendous, we found ourselves eating other meals at the same restaurant.

After our dinner we walked to the Metro- subway that took us across town in the direction of the "White house".  It was amazing to actually stand in front of the "White house" and think of the history that had taken place within the walls of the historical Presidential dwelling.

Directly across the street of the White house was a protestor for peace and against nuclear weapons. We spoke with him and learned he and another woman take 12 hour shifts, both have been residing on the sidewalk since the 1980's. They live on donations people kindly put in a medal dish nearby. The man was pleasant and obviously dedicated to the cause. I can't imagine how they could sleep and spend each day for 12 hours in the area they have called their home. The temperature dips down to the single numbers at times. This particular evening was balmy for a winter in January, it was 50 degrees. Walking and taking in the sights was a real pleasure.

After leaving the White house we walked over to the Washington Monument. It is an enormous structure, we talked about the history of it and continued on walking by the enormous Smithsonian Institute, directly in front of us was the Capital Building.  It was magnificent,the dome was well lit. We stood in awe just talking about the history. On the path leading to the Capital building was surprisingly free of people, a few joggers ran by us that was the extent of it. The presence of security was very evident every where you travel in downtown DC.

After the capital we walked to Union Station where we took the subway back to the hotel on Connecticut Avenue.  This was a first time for Bill and I to see the magnificence of our great country's capital and what our country has stood for for many many years. In the two hours we walked, John is knowledgeable about the buildings and filled our heads with historical facts. We are grateful to have him with us.

10:00 PM we said good night to John and went to our room.

6:30 AM we met John in the lobby, walked to eat breakfast, that started our day. The rest of time spent in DC was scheduled and busy. We took a cab to the Capital John got his press pass than met at 11:00 AM for preparation of the testimony to be be held the next day.

After lunch, an aid for Congressman Murphy took us on a tour of the Capital building it was very interesting, every room beamed with history.

The mental and emotional drain of the day was evident, we took the subway back to the hotel. Bill and I turned in, John told us he walked up Connecticut Ave until 11:30 that night.

Testimony day, 6:30 AM, we met John in the hotel lobby and walked down the street to a local breakfast place.  After, we dressed for the day in suits, hailed a cab and off to the Capital.

Traffic is always heavy in the AM so we allowed time just in case and arrived in plenty of time. In order to get into the building security is very strict and takes time to go through the screening.

Our destination was the Cannon House where the congress offices reside. The other side of the building is where the Senators reside. On this day we were to stay on the Congress section of the building.

Preparation continued until the time of the hearing. Senator Lieberman's counselor came to Congressman Murphy's office and talked with us for a while. At that time she said it would be time to get Senator Co sponsorship and revealed that Senator Lieberman had committed to sponsor the bill. It is exciting to see the bill move forward.

Shortly before 11:00 AM we walked to the room to testify, it was an out of body experience. I was well aware this was a one time shot and had to fight for the families. "The Quilt of Hope" hung under the subcommittee and directly in front of us.

We were introduced to the panel members who would testify and exchanged our thoughts with one another concerning the bill.

Hearing Information 
Hearing Documentation

Hearing on: H.R. 3695, the "Help Find the Missing Act" or "Billy’s Law"

Thursday 01/21/2010 - 11:00 A.M.

2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

By Direction of the Chairman

Witness List

Panel I

Hon. Christopher S. Murphy

U.S. House of Representatives
5th District, CT

Hon. Ted Poe
U.S. House of Representatives
2nd District, TX

Panel II
Janice Smolinski
Cheshire, CT

Stephen L. Morris
Deputy Assistant Director
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC

Kristina Rose
Acting Director
National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice Washington, DC

After Congressman Murphy and Congressman Poe finished testifying, we exchanged seats and we sat three in a row from left to right Stephen Morris -FBI, Kristina Rose- DOJ, and Me. I was to testify first. Directly in front of me was the "Quilt of Hope" with faces looking directly at the panel as if to say, please help me. It was an emotional time I knew I had to deliver every ounce of voice and speak for the families.

If it wasn't for all the families and supporters we would not have reached the point to where we are today. You are important and we need to hold hands, be the village and make the long over due bill become law. There are no words to express what happened that day. The subcommittee was attentive you could hear a pin drop as each testimony was read.

We met tremendous people and they truly care about each and every story heard. They actually understand and are committed. One of the truly touching moments was when after the hearing the Quilt was looked at by members and others in the room.

We returned back to the Congressman's office where we ate lunch. After lunch, the Congressman and I attended a press conference by phone. Our CT local TV station WVIT set up an interview in a building nearby that housed many TV stations including MSNBC. The back-drop in the interview room is the Dome of the Capital building which added to the emotions of the day and how important this day truly had been.

Exhausted and emotionally worn we walked to Union Station, took the subway back, checked out of the hotel and drove back home.

We left with a sense of accomplishment, eager to continue on this journey, the excitement was evident everywhere. A special thank you to Congressman Murphy and Linda Foreman, Judiciary staffer who championed and addressed the problems and did whatever necessary to create H.R.3695 Help Find The Missing Act (Billy's Law) for the good of all the families in the country.

Thank you Congressman Poe and all the co sponsors for understanding that the time is right and the need to improve the non working system we have currently have and the courage to take a stand.

We returned home at 10:00 PM after our 6 hour drive home.

The bill is moving forward now excepting not only co sponsors of Federal Congress persons but Senators as well with Senator Lieberman sponsoring on the Senate side. The bill is now going onto a committee where they will "markup" which means they are going to change whatever they feel necessary to the bill which we were told there will be little change.

Uncertainty is a cancer that crushes the spirit of loved ones left behind, destroys marriages and tears at the tissue of family bonds. The stress of having a missing loved turns some to substance abuse, creates health problems and drives people into bankruptcy. Unless there is some form of resolution, the heartache never truly goes away.

Congressman Murphy's effort gives families like ours hope for a better, more certain tomorrow. This legislation is long overdue, and the missing community applauds his effort. This act is named after our son, but it's not for him, or the Smolinski family.

This act is for every American, and is an ultimate act in Homeland Security.


Friday, January 22, 2010

National Crime Information Center’s Role in the ‘Help Find the Missing Act’

Stephen L. Morris, Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Criminal Justice Online Courses: National Crime Information Center’s Role in the ‘Help Find the Missing Act’

Co-Sponsors From Senate Needed for Billy's Law

Posted by Larrry Ramsdell on January 22, 2010 at 2:21pm in NamUs.Gov and Billy's Law/HR 3695

I am happy to say now is the time we need everyone's help and
support on getting Senators to cosponsor Billy's Law HR3695. As I
had mentioned before 50 states 100 Senators. The link below will
give you all the information you need, first an email then a phone


When you are emailing or calling it is very important that you let
them know that Senator Lieberman is the sponsor of this bill. All
Senators do not have judiciary staffers, so you may speak with who
ever may answer the phone.

Cosponsors from your Congressman is an on going process. A simple rule to remember is, if he or she is not a cosponsor already and you have not received an answer from them, then there still is work left to do.

Co-Sponsors From Senate Needed for Billy's Law!

Connecticut Mom Lobbies Congress

Connecticut Mom Lobbies Congress 


Janice Smolinski's son Billy disappeared back in August 2004.  He's never been found.  Now, she's taking her fight to Congress, hoping to reform the way missing persons cases are handled by police.
Smolinski testified before a congressional sub-committee Thursday morning in favor of Billy's Law.  "In our search to find our son we encountered a Pandora's Box and when we opened it we unleashed the nightmare plaguing the world of the missing and unidentified dead," said Smolinski during the hearing.
The proposed legislation would secure congressional authorization and funding for the only existing public database that includes both information on missing persons and unidentified remains, said Congressman Chris Murphy, D- 5th District, who is sponsoring the bill.  It would also link that database to an FBI database, making more information accessible to families who are searching for loved ones, while also taking steps to protect sensitive information, he said.
"A missing persons report may be entered into one database while a person's remains may be listed in another making it almost impossible for family members to try to connect those missing pieces," said Murphy during the hearing.
The legislation would also provide up to $10 million in funding for police training every year, to encourage wider use of the databases and improve police responses to missing persons cases, Murphy said.
Smolinski says her family encountered unimaginable hurdles in trying to work with police and locate their loved one.  Smolinski told lawmakers that Waterbury police made them wait three days to file a police report despite their belief a crime occurred.  Once a report was filed, police worked the case as a low priority, she said.  They also mishandled DNA evidence, and failed to properly enter information in missing persons databases, said Smolinski.
She was disturbed to learn that databases designed to help close cases were not linked together, and were rarely used by law enforcement or medical examiners around the country. 
"We have tried to change the system so no family would have to endure the anguish that we have lived through," said Smolinski.
Waterbury police have taken steps to improve their handling of missing persons cases, said Smolinski.  So have other police departments aroundConnecticut, but many more need to make improvements around the country, she said.
"Uncertainly is a cancer that crushes the spirit of loved ones left behind," said Smolinski.
Waterbury police, State police, and the FBI continue working the case.

Billy's Law Moves Forward ~ More Co-Sponsors Needed

A Cheshire mother whose son has been missing for more than five years testified in Washington, D.C., Thursday about the importance of the proposed “Billy’s Law” in helping families find their missing loved ones.

Janice and William Smolinski’s son, William Smolinski Jr. of Waterbury, disappeared Aug. 24, 2004, at the age of 31.

Janice Smolinski and U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5, testified Thursday at a hearing before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security about the “Help Find the Missing Act,” or “Billy’s Law.” 

Murphy co-introduced the federal legislation, which is named after Billy Smolinski, last summer.

“I’m here to represent the families of all the missing in the United States,” Janice Smolinski said. “I know what they are going through.”

Thousands of Americans disappear each year. Meanwhile, there are about 40,000 sets of unidentified remains being held or disposed of, with no organized system to match cases and remains. The proposal is an effort to have an organized way to find matches. It would provide law enforcement, medical examiners, and coroners with the guidance and resources to help bring closure to families of the missing, according to Murphy.

“It was an emotional and productive hearing,” Murphy said Thursday. “I’m confident the proposal will get swift passage through committee, the House and Senate.”

Murphy said he hopes the law will go to President Obama’s desk by the end of the year.

Police have said they think Billy Smolinski was the victim of foul play, and they have searched without success for his body at several locations, including in Shelton and Seymour. His parents say they are optimistic their son will be found.

“Right now, law enforcement is meeting every three or four weeks to discuss Billy’s case, and I think it will be soon,” Janice Smolinski said.

Janice Smolinski said after Billy vanished, law enforcement was slow to respond and take their fears seriously. It took four years for her son’s information to get entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center, something that should happen immediately, she said.

Murphy said systems in place now for law enforcement and medical examiners to use to help families find their loved ones aren’t linked.

Smolinski said she believes the changes allowed under Billy’s Law are major breakthroughs.

“There is a disconnect between medical examiners and law enforcement,” she said. “This will mean a central database.”

According to Murphy, federal law currently doesn’t mandate that information about missing adults and unidentified bodies be entered into national databases. While law enforcement can voluntarily report this information, a lack of resources and knowledge of the national databases often prevents them from doing so, Murphy said.

“It is a nightmare to think a body has been recovered and is sitting in a morgue somewhere, and you as a family don’t know yet,” Murphy said.

The legislation would authorize, and therefore help ensure funding for, the National Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs , which was created in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide a missing persons/unidentified database that the public can view and contribute information. The NamUs site, , has information on missing people and unidentified decedents, a tool for trying to match them.

The proposal would connect NamUs with the NCIC to create more comprehensive missing persons and unidentified remains databases, and streamline the reporting process for local law enforcement.

More databases would be available to the public, so families can help with the search.

Under the plan, the FBI would make NCIC information available to the public, with the exception of information it considers to be classified, Murphy said.

The legislation would create an incentive grants program to help states, local law enforcement and medical examiners report missing and unidentified persons to NCIC, NamUs and the National DNA Index System. The proposal is for up to $10 million to go toward the grant program, according to Murphy.

Funding would still need to be approved by the appropriations committee, he said.

If a police department or agency gets the federal grant money, then within 72 hours of an adult going missing, they must put the required information into the NamUs and NCIC databases, according to Murphy’s office.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

HR 3695 The Help Find The Missing Act (Billy's Law): PUSHING FORWARD - PEACE4 THE MISSING

Today, January 14, 2010 is Billy Smolinski's birthday, the missing person for which this bill is named.

There is a Judiciary Committee Hearing scheduled for January 21 and his mother, Janice, will be speaking before the committee. She will be speaking as not only a mother with a missing child, but as a representative of all of the family members of a missing person, she is our voice. She has worked 3 years for this day, for the opportunity to finally get this bill before the Representatives in Congress.

It's very clear to all of us who want passage of this bill that it is a "one shot deal." If it fails to make it, there will NOT be another chance to make it happen. The importance of this can not be emphasized enough.

If you have a missing loved one, or are someone who cares about the missing, please help us in this effort. Contact your district's US Representative NOW and ask them to support and sign on as a Co-Sponsor.

HR 3695 The Help Find The Missing Act (Billy's Law): PUSHING FORWARD - PEACE4 THE MISSING

Please join us at Peace4 the Missing
Missing Persons Awareness and Support Network

Monday, January 4, 2010

Call to Action: Help Find the Missing Act

Thank You, Jennifer for this EXCELLENT Article!

On August 24, 2004, Billy Smolinski disappeared. He is still missing. His mother, Jan, could have given in to despair and the unknown but instead she found a fight deep inside to not only move forward in grief but to improve the system that is supposed to help moms like her find their missing children. Part of her fight is with the very people who are supposed to look for Billy. The people with the training and resources haven’t done enough -- in part because Billy was 31 years old when he disappeared and in part because there aren’t any laws in place setting procedures for declaring and searching for missing people who are neither children nor seniors.

But Jan and her family, and families like hers, fight every day to improve the resources available to law enforcement and find ways to encourage law enforcement to utilize those resources and give families the right to demand action be taken to find their loved ones.

On January 21, 2009, Jan will testify before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security to tell them her story from the disappearance of her son to the struggles and obstacles in getting proper police action. I ask that you please send a handwritten note encouraging each member of the subcommittee to attend the hearing and give witness to Jan’s story.

I also ask that you encourage the subcommittee members, as well as your own members of the House, to become co-sponsors of HR-3695 "The Help Find the Missing Act" also known as "Billy’s Law" and to vote for it when the time comes.
HR 3695 authorizes the Attorney General to maintain public databases, known as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs, to contain missing persons records and unidentified remains cases to assist in identifying missing people and solve cases of unidentified human remains. It directs the Attorney General to:
(1) share information on missing persons and unidentified human remains contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing and Unidentified Person File database with the NamUs database;
(2) establish a grant program to assist in the reporting of missing persons and unidentified remains information to the NCIC and NamUs databases;
(3) issue a report to the offices of medical examiners, offices of coroners, and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies describing the best practices for collecting, reporting, and analyzing data and information on missing persons and unidentified human remains; and
(4) report to Congress on the status of the NCIC Missing and Unidentified Person File and NamUs databases.
This bill amends the National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990 to require reports of missing children (under age 21) to NamUs databases.

The members of the subcommittee are:
Rep. Bobby Scott (D) Virginia, 3rd
Washington Office
1201 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D) Puerto Rico
Washington Office
1218 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Jerrold Nadler  (D) New York, 8th
Washington Office
2334 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) California, 16th
Washington Office
102 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) Texas, 18th
Washington Office
2160 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Maxine Waters (D) California, 35th
Washington Office
2344 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0535

Rep. Steve Cohen (D) Tennessee, 9th
Washington Office
1005 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) New York, 9th
Washington Office
2104 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) Florida, 20th
Washington  Office
118 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Mike Quigley (D) Illinois, 5th
Washington Office
1319 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) Texas, 1st
Washington Office
511 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Ted Poe (R) Texas, 2nd
Washington Office
430 Cannon Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) Virginia, 6th
Washington Office
Bob Goodlatte 2240 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Dan Lungren (R) California, 3rd
Washington Office
2262 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R) Virginia, 4th
Washington D.C. Office
2438 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R) Florida, 16th
Washington Office
1529 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
HR 3695 currently has one sponsor and ten co-sponsors but needs more! If your Representative is currently a cosponsor, please send them a handwritten thank you note to remind them about this bill and ask them to please stress its merits with their fellow members of Congress.
Congressman Christopher Murphy (D-CT, 5)
Washington Office
412 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Marcia Fudge [D, OH-11]
Washington office
1513 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Barton Gordon [D, TN-6]
Washington Office
2306 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D, NY-22]
Washington Office
2431 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-14]
Washington Office
2332 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3214

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter [R, MI-11]
1632 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Walter Minnick [D, ID-1]
Washington Office
1517 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Eleanor Norton [D, DC-0]
Washington Office
2136 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

**Rep. Ted Poe [R, TX-2]
Washington Office
430 Cannon Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter [D, NH-1]
Washington Office
1330 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Rep. Edward Whitfield [R, KY-1]
Washington Office
2411 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

To find your representative and his or her mailing address you can find it at:

You can track HR 3695 on

I plan on writing diaries in the future with updates and further action. We need support from the House and Senate and the general public. We need to value all those who go missing and do our best to find them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this diary that isn’t about health care reform, Afghanistan, climate change or the other timely issues that make headlines. I truly appreciate it.