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Bipartisan Jones-Cruz Civil Rights Bill Advances Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

September 26, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Doug Jones’ (D-Ala.) Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 was reported by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs with strong bipartisan support. The bill would require the review, declassification, and release of government records related to unsolved criminal civil rights cases.

“The civil rights movement triumphed by securing for millions of people their rightful share in the American Dream,” Sen. Cruz said. “Unfortunately, many violent crimes committed against black families struggling for equality during this time were never solved. Our bill attempts to address this by disclosing case records so that private detectives, historians, victims, and victims’ families may access these files, pursue leads, and document these tragic events. I am proud to work with my colleagues in this bipartisan effort, and am hopeful that additional sunlight and public interest will bring revelation, justice, and closure where it has long been lacking.”

“While the communities and families impacted by these crimes might not get justice, I hope they can get some sense of closure by getting access to these records,” said Senator Jones. “We need to take steps to unlock these documents while there’s still time for people to have that healing process and understand all the facts that are out there. As a former prosecutor who secured convictions in a decades-old cold case, I know that it’s never too late to seek justice. It’s time now that we give every grieving family the same opportunity.”

The full text of the bill here. The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 would:

  • Require the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to establish a collection of cold case records about unsolved criminal civil rights cases that government offices must publicly disclose in the collection.
  • Establish a Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board to facilitate the review, transmission to NARA, and disclosure of government records related to such cases.

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