Star Ledger/NJ.com Story on Smith's 'Sami's Law'Their daughter was killed after getting into a car she thought was her Uber. Now this N.J. couple works to protect others.'
By JONATHAN SALANT of NJ.com
“You’re getting this raw,” the Robbinsville resident told the Republican congresswoman from Washington state during a meeting Wednesday in Rep. Chris Smith’s office. By the time they finished, McMorris Rodgers had reached for a tissue and Josephson was wiping his eyes yet again.
It was a fatal mistake. Police said the driver of the car, who they identified as Nathaniel David Rowland, kidnapped her and then stabbed her to death.
“I just can’t imagine what you’re going through,” said McMorris Rodgers, who has three children of her own. “I’m going to cry too.”
“It’s the worst nightmare that a parent could ever go through,” Josephson said.
“That’s why I’m fighting so hard for this so nobody has to do this again,” he said.
The meeting with McMorris Rodgers was one of several throughout the day arranged by Smith to enable Josephson and his wife Marci to lobby for a bill named after their daughter, who was to graduate this month and then go to law school in the fall.
States that don’t put these regulations in place would lose some of their federal highway funding. It’s the same stick used to get states to raise the drinking age to 21 more than three decades ago.
Smith, R-4th Dist., is the lead sponsor in the House. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., is sponsoring the bill in the Senate; the mother of Samantha’s freshman-year roommate works for him in Washington.
Requiring all cars to have front and rear plates drew support from Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews, who also said the company was “willing to work with lawmakers to develop common sense rules to keep our community safe," building on its existing processes.
“The best way for riders to identify their Lyft ride is to match the license plate number shown in the app with the license plate of the arriving vehicle,” she said.
The Josephsons met with numerous lawmakers and congressional aides, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, grabbing sandwiches in Smith’s office between appointments.
“This has to be a full-court press but it’s coming from a set of parents who don’t want it happening to another child,” Smith said.
Walking from Smith’s office to the Capitol, the Josephsons and the congressman went to a room off the House chambers to sat down with Reps. Sam Graves of Missouri, the top Republican on the House Transportation Committee, and Joe Wilson, R-S.C., whose district includes the neighborhood where the kidnapping occurred.
The couple made their pitches again.
“The only thing we can do is to try to turn this into a positive,” Marci Josephson told Wilson.
In this case, her pitch worked. Wilson said he would co-sponsor the legislation.
“You’re making such a difference,” Wilson told Marci Josephson. “What a tribute to her and your courage.”
This story was originally published by the Star Ledger/NJ.com (NJ Advance Media) online on May 8, 2019 and can be found at: