Bill named after Vanessa Guillen to be reintroduced

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Thursday, May 13, 2021
'I Am Vanessa Guillen' bill reintroduced
There's faith among Vanessa Guillen's family members that a bill bearing the slain Army specialist's name can move forward. Here's what happens next.

A bill named after Army specialist Vanessa Guillen, who was allegedly murdered at the Fort Hood Army base last year, is being reintroduced Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Guillen, 20, was allegedly killed by another soldier at the Killeen, Texas, base on April 22, 2020. Her family says she told them she'd been sexually harassed by a sergeant months before her death.

California Rep. Jackie Speier and Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin are championing the bipartisan #IamVanessaGuillen Act, which seeks to reform the way the military handles sexual assault and harassment cases.

SEE RELATED: Timeline offers look at tragedy and legacy of Ft. Hood soldier

The bill was first introduced last September in a previous session of Congress but was never voted on.

The bill would move prosecution decisions outside the chain of command to an Office of the Chief Prosecutor within each military service and create a confidential reporting process integrated with the Department of Defense's Catch a Serial Offender Database.

It would also make sexual harassment a punishable crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would attend the briefing and speak in support of the bill.

FULL VIDEO: Pelosi and bipartisan lawmakers back reintroduced Guillen bill

The Fort Hood soldier's family is expected to appear along side House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as part of a renewed pushed on the bill.

The bill will save "thousands of lives," said Natalie Khawam, the Guillen family's attorney.

"Unfortunately we will never be able to bring Specialist Vanessa Guillen back to us, which is a great loss to our Country, but with this Bill, Vanessa did not die in vain," she tweeted Wednesday. "Our bill will save thousands of lives, improve the military system, and increase the low moral (sic) currently plaguing our military."

SEE ALSO: Vanessa Guillen bills introduced in Texas to rename stretch of Hwy 3

With the one year anniversary of Vanessa Guillen's disappearance, Texas lawmakers from her district in Houston introduced legislation meant to honor her memory.