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Sen. Schatz votes for Military Justice Improvement Act, remarks about failure of passage

MEDIA RELEASE

Washington, DC – Today U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) voted to advance legislation to end sexual assault in the military. The bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act, which Schatz cosponsored, would move the decision of whether or not to pursue sexual assault cases away from the military chain-of-command, and instead give that authority to independent military prosecutors. The Military Justice Improvement Act failed to get the 60 votes needed to end debate with a 55-45 vote. Following the vote, Schatz pledged to continue fighting to pass the legislation.

“The U.S. military is the only workplace in America where the decision about whether to prosecute a case of sexual assault lies in the hands of the victim’s employers. Decisions are made within the military chain of command. And the status quo simply isn’t working,” said Senator Schatz. “Our legislation would make it easier for victims to come forward and make the process more transparent. Our servicemen and women fight abroad to protect our nation’s values. And they deserve justice. I believe we have a responsibility to make sure these types of crimes don’t go unpunished. We’re going to continue fighting to pass this bill because it’s the right thing to do.”

The legislation was backed by leading veterans’ service organizations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, Protect Our Defenders and Service Women’s Action Network.

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