WASHINGTON D.C. — Members of Congress are moving ahead with new legislation that would make sweeping changes to the way the military prosecutes cases of sexual assault and other crimes.
The bi-partisan bill is named for army specialist Vanessa Guillen, a soldier at Fort Hood who was killed in 2020. She had complained of sexual harassment before her death.
The change would take those cases, and all serious crimes, out of the chain of command of the military and place them in the hands of trained professionals.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been advocating for this policy for years, says it’s a major step forward.
Fellow veteran and Iowa representative Mariannette Miller Meeks, says she knows this change is needed.
“I know the trauma that too many of our service members have endured. When we choose to serve our nation’s armed services that honorable and voluntary choice does not also voluntarily waive our right to due process. What happened to Vanessa, and this happened to so many others, is tragic. And it’s incumbent upon us to keep our service members safe and get them the justice they deserve.”