ORLANDO, Fla. - Elected officials came together with family members of victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting to announce an effort to designate the site of the attack as a federally recognized memorial.
During a press conference on Monday, U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto said they are co-sponsoring the legislation to honor the 49 lives taken on June 12, 2016.
"This will give this hallowed ground the federal recognition it deserves," Soto said. "Especially for those who lost everything."
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Federal recognition of the Pulse nightclub site would mean the memorial would be able to collect public or private grants. It also would mean that the site would receive government protection.
Mayra Alvear's daughter Amanda was killed in the mass shooting. She said the announcement holds special meaning for herself and other family members of the victims.
"This is going to be a sanctuary of hope and it's love and not hate," Alvear said. "Better the community. Better ourselves and honor our children with action."
If passed, the bill also allows for local control of the memorial's development, which is something Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma said is important for the Central Florida community.
"It really just gives such dignity and respect to what happened here and ensures what I've always wanted, that it will never be forgotten long after we're not here to tell the story anymore," Poma said.
H.R. 3094 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. Soto said he hopes the bill will be signed into law by mid-2020.
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