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National Pulse Memorial bill awaits President Biden's signature

Saturday marks five years since 49 people were killed in a shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando.
Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux
In this June 10, 2019, file photo, a view of the Pulse nightclub is seen before a news conference to introduce legislation that would designate the Pulse nightclub site as a national memorial, in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A memorial honoring 49 people who lost their lives in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting is just an Oval Office signature away from officially becoming a national site.

Lawmakers passed S.1605 on Wednesday to make the former gay nightclub the National Pulse Memorial. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican who was Florida's governor at the time, sponsored the Senate legislation

The House version of the bill, introduced by Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, passed in May.

The legislative action comes as Saturday, June 12, marks five years since the deadly mass shooting. Forty-nine people died and 53 others were hurt in what is the deadliest incident of violence against the LGBTQ community.

Although the National Pulse Memorial would be designated as a national site, it would not be part of the National Park System, the legislation reads. Federal funds would not be used in any way with the memorial.

President Joe Biden needs to sign the legislation to make it official.

"Saturday marks 5 years since our Central Florida community lost 49 angels in the Pulse nightclub shooting," Soto tweeted. "I am honored that my bill with @RepStephMurphy & @RepValDemings for a #PulseNationalMemorial passed the House & thank @SenRickScott & the Senate for taking action #ForThe49."

Scott called the shooting "an unspeakable tragedy."

"An evil act of terrorism designed to divide us as a nation and strike fear in our hearts and minds," he said, in part. "But instead, we came together, and supported each other through heartbreak and darkness, to preserve and rebuild."

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