Grassley on the Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act of 2019
Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On the Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act of 2019
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
I recently introduced S. 2770, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act of 2019, with Senators Shaheen and Tillis.
This measure is a companion to what Congresswoman Speier developed and introduced in the other chamber.
It builds on legislation, entitled the Survivors Bill of Rights Act that we adopted in 2016.
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 115th Congress, I worked closely with a young woman, Amanda Nguyen, on the development of that 2016 measure prior to its introduction.
Amanda, a survivor of sexual assault, founded and leads the nonprofit organization known as Rise.
She also worked with Senator Shaheen on this same legislation, introducing the final version in this chamber.
We incorporated that 2016 package of rights into an amendment I offered to another measure before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In May 2016, that legislation passed this chamber, 89 to 0.
In October 2016, the House version, which was introduced later, was signed by the President.
The bill that we introduced this month builds on the 2016 Survivors Bill of Rights.
It makes each State eligible to receive a Federal grant to implement a similar package of rights for victims of sex crimes at the State level.
Such rights include, for example, the right to know the results of your forensic exam, the right to have evidence preserved for a certain period, and the right to notice before your forensic kit is destroyed.
A State also might use its Justice Department grant to preserve sexual assault evidence kits, reduce the number of kits awaiting testing or extend additional assistance to crime victims, under our legislation.
Finally, the measure we introduced authorizes $20 million annually for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2025 to support the implementation of the new grant program established by this bill.
I urge my colleagues to join us in cosponsoring the Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the States Act of 2019.
I thank Senator Shaheen for joining me in leading this bill and her commitment to working with me to increase protections for victims of sexual violence.
I again thank Congresswoman Speier and her staff for initiating this measure in the House and for working so hard to develop this bicameral, bipartisan measure.