WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today announced that their bipartisan Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act has been signed into law by the President. Their bill requires the review, declassification, and release of government records related to unsolved criminal civil rights cases. Sens. Cruz and Jones have led a months-long bipartisan effort to provide public access to unsolved civil rights crime documents through their legislation. U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) led the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“I am grateful to have worked with Sen. Jones on this important bill,” Sen. Cruz said. “The unsolved crimes committed against Americans seeking their rightful place in the American dream during the civil rights movement casts a dark shadow on an important chapter of American history. It is my hope that, with additional sunlight to these cold cases, there will be revelation, justice, and closure where it has long been lacking.”
“This moment has been years in the making. I want to thank my colleagues Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Bobby Rush for their strong partnership throughout this effort, which started with a group of talented high school students who encountered a problem and wanted to find a solution. I am excited that their classroom idea and the solution we worked on together has now been signed into law by the President of the United States. I also appreciate the comments the President made in his signing statement in support of our legislation and his encouragement that Congress appropriate funds for its implementation. This law sends a powerful message to those impacted by these horrific crimes and to young folks in this country who want to make a difference. I know how deeply painful these Civil Rights-era crimes remain for communities so by shedding light on these investigations I hope we can provide an opportunity for healing and closure,” said Sen. Jones.
The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 will:
- 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.