What is Billy's Law? Gabby Petito’s dad Joseph rejoices after Help Find the Missing Act passed

What is Billy's Law? Gabby Petito’s dad Joseph rejoices after Help Find the Missing Act passed
Billy's Law was inspired by Billy Smolinski who has been missing. It was reinvented to 'Help Find the Missing Act' after Gabby Petito went missing and found dead (Waterbury Police Department, Instagram/petitojoseph)

MOAB, UTAH: Gabby Petito's parents were pushing for a bill that would help find missing people in a more streamlined fashion since October. Earlier this month, the legislation inspired by Gabby Petito's murder was to the President's desk and sharing the good news, we have Gabby's father Joseph Petito. He took to social media to announce that President Joe Biden had signed the act. The bill, initially called 'Billy's Law' and then reinvented to Help Find The Missing Act, was sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy. Gabby was found dead on September 19, 2021, just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. She was traveling cross-country with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. It was established that Gabby died of strangulation. Brian too was later found dead. 

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Joseph Petito took to his Instagram to share the news and wrote, "#HelpFindTheMissingAct #BilliysLaw has been signed by @potus and is now law. Amazing. Thank you @chrismurphyct @repjahanahayes @petitomom @niki_schmidt_ all the members of congress, and the senate for this. #NamUs #TogetherWeCan #missingPersons". The act allows the Attorney General to maintain public databases, known as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs, to contain missing person records and unidentified remains cases to assist in identifying missing people and solve cases of unidentified human remains. Joseph also celebrated when the Billy's Law was passed in the House and he wrote, "Help Find The Missing Act-Billy’s Law just passed unanimously in the senate. On to the House. #billyslaw #BillSmolinski #TogetherWeCan #missingpersons #Namus"

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What's Billy's Law?

The bill was conceived by Janice and Bill Smolinski of Cheshire, Connecticut, after their 31-year-old son Billy went missing from Waterbury, Connecticut, whom they never found. Jan and Bill Smolinski have collaborated with the Waterbury police, former Waterbury State’s Attorney John Connelly, FBI agents, Connecticut State police officers, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane and former Republican-American editor Jonathan Kellogg. Billy's Law was originally introduced in the House of Representatives in 2009 by then-Congressman Chris Murphy. It all began when the Smolinkis faced several systematic challenges with federal databases about missing persons and unidentified remains. The database was more or less incomplete and uncoordinated. 

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Billy Smolinski. (Family handout provided to Fox News)
Billy Smolinski. (Family handout provided to Fox News)

Billy's Law, officially Help Find the Missing Act, was introduced to address these said challenges. It helped ensure that the American families who suffer the loss of a missing person do not experience the same hurdles faced by the Smolinskis. Help Find the Missing Act also creates an incentives grants program to help officials report missing persons to NCIC and NamUs. It will further require the Justice Department to issue guidelines and best practices on handling missing persons and unidentified remains.

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