KILLEEN, TX — The Vanessa Guillen Bill was never voted on when it was introduced last year. Now, family and supporters are hopeful for a better outcome the second time around.
“No one deserves to die the way she died. No one deserves to suffer the way my sister suffered. No one. So please advocate for this legislation,” said Vanessa Guillén Sister Lupe Guillén.
The #IamVanessaGuillen Act is back in Congress. The Guillen Family along with federal lawmakers including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reintroduced the Bill during a press conference in Washington D.C. Thursday.
“It will make a strong step closer to ensuring no service member our family will have to endure such horror,” said U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
If passed, Service members would be able to report suspected cases of sexual assault and harassment through a more confidential process, with help from the Department of Defense’s Catch a Serial Offender Database.
Also, prosecutorial decisions would be made in the Office of the Chief Prosecutor.
“Commanders don’t have legal training decisions. They shouldn’t be making decisions about whether or not to prosecute sexual assault,” said Congresswoman Jackie Speier.
The bill was originally introduced to congress last year, but stalled out. Some on capitol hill, like Central Texas Congressman Roger Williams, are opposed to the legislation, as it stands now.
“There’s issues in there they take too much in my mind, authority away from the military component and bring the private sector in which I don’t think is the way to do that. I don’t personally think we need trial lawyers running around Fort Hood,” said U.S. Representative (R-TX) Congressman Roger Williams.
Despite the push back, the family and supporters of the bill think it could get momentum this time.
The legislation would also Require a third-party independent investigation into sex related offenses and a confidential recording option for sexual-harassment allowing for a formal complaint at any time.
The bill would also make sexual harassment a punishable crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.