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President Biden signs 'Sami's Law,' named after USC student, into effect

Named after Samantha Josephson, H.R. 1082 would require reporting of assaults involving drivers and passengers of for-hire vehicles

COLUMBIA, S.C. — One of the more than two dozen bills President Joe Biden signed into law on January 5 was H.R. 1082, or "Sami's Law," named after University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson.

Sami's Law would require the Government Accountability Office to study, and submit a biennial report to Congress regarding the incidence of assaults involving drivers and passengers of for-hire vehicles such as Uber and Lyft. It would also require ridesharing company drivers to prominently display lighted signs and a scannable QR code as a safety regulation and criminalize misrepresentation of being a driver of a ride-sharing service nationwide.

On March 29, 2019, after an evening out in the Five Points district in Columbia, Josephson ordered an Uber to take her home. Instead of getting into the ride-share vehicle, the 21-year-old got into a vehicle driven by Nathaniel Rowland and was murdered.

Josephson's parents established the What's My Name Foundation to educate people about ride-share safety and advocate for policies that enhance safety for ride-share users. The Samantha Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act was signed into law in South Carolina in June 2019 and Sami's Law was signed into effect in New Jersey, Josephson's home state. New Jersey's US Representative Chris Smith and Senator Cardin introduced the bill in Washington in May 2019, where it lingered until late last year.

Josephson's father Seymour says that the law is "not everything that we all wanted and that's needed. But it is a first step in chipping away and for her memory to make change."

With the signature of the president, Sami's Law became a federal law on Thursday.

Josephson's father wants her remembered as "a fun loving, smart, determined, beautiful inside and out person."  He says he wants that to be the main memory of Samantha and not the tragic way she lost her life.

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