H.R. 3695: Billy's Law

H.R. 3695

Billy's Law

Date
February 23, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 3695 is expected to be considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The bill was introduced by Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-CT) on October 1, 2009. The Committee on the Judiciary approved the bill by voice vote on January 27, 2010.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3695 would authorizes $2.4 million in each of the Fiscal Years 2011 through 2016 for the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice to maintain the public National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) databases for missing persons and unidentified remains.

The legislation also establishes a program within the Justice Department to provide grants to law enforcement agencies, medical examiners' and coroners' offices, and State criminal justice agencies to report their cases to both NamUs and the National Crime Information Center's (NCIC) Unidentified Person File within the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Grant recipients would be required to report missing adults and unidentified remains to the databases within 72 hours, submit DNA samples to the National DNA Index System no later than 60 days after the original report, and provide other information such as dental records or fingerprints. The bill authorizes $10 million in each of Fiscal Years 2011 through 2015 for the grant program.

H.R. 3695 requires the Justice Department to facilitate the sharing of information between NCIC and NamUs. The bill directs the Justice Department, within 30 days of the database update and upon approval of the States, to transmit existing data in NCIC into NamUs, and vice versa. H.R. 3695 also amends existing missing children laws to require reports of missing children submitted to the NCIC to also be submitted to NamUs.

 

Background

This legislation is named after Billy Smolinski, a native of Waterbury, CT, who disappeared in 2004.

Each year, tens of thousands of Americans become missing, and there were an estimated 40,000 sets of unidentified remains being held of medical examiners' offices as of 2004. Only 6,000 cases of unidentified remains have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Unidentified Person File, and the estimated numbers of missing persons are not complete because reporting is voluntary to the NCIC by local law enforcement agencies and medical examiners' offices. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS) was established in July 2007, by the Justice Department to provide a public unidentified remains and missing persons database.

 

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that H.R. 3695 would cost about $45 million over five years.