Amanda’s Law heading to Governor Baker’s desk after nearly a decade of advocacy
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - More than a decade after a Chicopee woman was murdered, a bill named in her honor has passed both the State Senate and House.
“Amanda’s Law,” which would ban first responders from taking and sharing unauthorized photos of crime victims, now heads to the governor’s desk.
When we brought you this story last week, Amanda Plasse’s family was starting to lose hope this bill would not pass before the state’s legislative session came to a close this weekend, but now, they are breathing a sigh of relief.
“I’m elated,” said Amanda’s mother, Michelle Penna. “I’m so happy.”
In the early hours of Monday morning, Michelle Penna found out that a bill she and her daughter, Aimee Lee Plasse, had been pushing for since 2013 had passed both the House and Senate before the session’s deadline.
“We were not really expecting it,”Plasse said. “We really weren’t expecting it.”
The bill bans first responders from taking and sharing unauthorized photos of crime victims. Penna said that photos were taken of her daughter Amanda after she was murdered and were then shared with others in the community.
“Look at what a family has gone through because of those images that you’ve taken,” Penna said. “There’s a family behind that image. You need to stop and think about the image that you’re taking and what you’re posting.”
They said they’re hoping that no family ever has to go through the same devastation again.
“It’s a huge step for victims that can’t speak for themselves,” Plasse told us. “It wasn’t just about Amanda. It was about other families that this could happen to or have already happened to. This just leaves first responders accountable.”
After fighting for nearly a decade to get this law passed, Penna and Plasse said this provides some closure for them.
“We can just remember Amanda,” Plasse said. “People can just remember her, and it doesn’t have to have this talk of the incident behind it anymore.”
They are grateful for all those who have stood behind them.
“Gosh, thank you!” Penna said. “We’ve had so much support from the community, from legislation, from senators, from family, from friends, from strangers, from the department themselves, as well, the police department.”
As for what’s next….
“Honestly, maybe in the future, we’ll look federally to try and make a change,” Penna told us. “There’s several states that have laws like this in place, and you know, maybe that’s what we’ll look at next. Maybe we’re headed to Washington.”
The governor has until August 11th to sign the bill into law.
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