Heck Applauds Passage of "Good Samaritan" Search Bill

Jan 27, 2014 Issues: Regulations

Bill expedites access to public lands for missing person search and recovery

WASHINGTON -- Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today applauded House passage of H.R. 2166, the Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act, which passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming vote of 394 to 0. The bill, which Rep. Heck introduced in June, allows expedited access to public lands for Good Samaritan search and recovery organizations so that they may conduct searches for missing persons.

Congressman Heck spoke on the House floor during debate on the bill and called for its passage.

"As a former member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Search and Rescue Team, I introduced this bill because unnecessary red tape simply must not continue to get in the way of providing closure for families faced with similarly tragic circumstances. Pass this bill for the families who won’t have to suffer the way the families of Keith Goldberg and Antonio Tucker did."

A video of Rep. Heck's full remarks can be seen by clicking the image below.

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate and also applauded the bill's passage in the House.

“Individuals participating in search-and-recovery missions should not have to trudge their way through the federal bureaucracy in order to help.  When a loved one goes missing, the last thing families want to worry about is red tape standing in the way of a potential rescue. I am grateful to Congressman Heck for his leadership on an issue that is so important to Nevadans' facing difficult circumstances. The Senate must now act quickly on the counterpart legislation that I introduced so that this measure can be signed into law by the President,” said Senator Dean Heller.

H.R. 2166 was drafted following the discovery of the bodies of Keith Goldberg and Air Force Staff Sergeant Antonio Tucker in the Lake Mead Recreation Area by Good Samaritan search and rescue teams. In both cases, the volunteer search teams had to wait nearly one year to obtain the proper permits and insurance before conducting their searches.

Keith Goldberg's sister, Jodi Goldberg, who testified in support of H.R. 2166 before the House Natural Resources Committee last year, was pleased the bill passed the House saying, "Volunteer, non-profit search teams of trained professionals carry out Good Samaritan search and rescue and search and recovery missions at no cost. They fill the void left when police searches end due to limited resources. Barriers and regulations have prevented these qualified individuals from helping their communities and the families of missing loved ones. I applaud the House for passing the Good Samaritan bill and urge the Senate to pass this legislation so other families of missing loved ones will not have to experience the prolonged pain and suffering ours did because of bureaucratic roadblocks that impeded search efforts."

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Congressman Joe Heck represents Nevada's Third Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.