Legislation moved quickly thru Senate, now sits in House committees
Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo echoed the admonition from the parents of Elizabeth Smart and child safety advocates in calling for quick action from the U.S. House of Representatives on legislation that will assist abducted children. The AMBER Alert legislation, which authorizes $25 million in federal funds for states to implement the system, has been sitting in two House committees since late January. Crapo is an original co-sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, and has pushed for its passage in the last two Congresses.â??The miraculous return of Elizabeth to her family yesterday underscores the need for this legislation,â?? Crapo said. â??I share the heartfelt gratitude expressed by so many over the last 24 hours over the outcome of this long ordeal. It is truly remarkable and all too rare that a child missing for so long returns home safely. It was through sharp-eyed public citizens that the police were called to State Street in Sandy on Wednesday, and we owe it to our children to have as many safety nets in place as possible. Local law enforcement officials in Idaho have expressed to me the need for a quick alert system in our state, and I agree with them. Some states including Idaho are already working on their own state Amber systems. A federal coordination of state programs that would be provided in this bill would be particularly helpful in cases like Elizabeth Smartâ??s, where it is apparent that the child was taken across state lines. While there remain some concerns regarding the implementation, equipment and funding, our children deserve no less from us. â??The measure contains at least $25 million in matching grants targeted at training and transportation signage programs, as well as efforts to promote coordination between states. President Bush had already pledged $10 million for training and equipment upgrades to assist states, but the legislation supported by Crapo and others could produce a more coordinated national effort and response to AMBER Alerts issued for missing children in any state. The Senate passed S. 121, the AMBER Alert Network Act, by unanimous vote on January 21, 2003. An identical bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives about one week later. That bill, H.R. 412, was referred to two House Committees for review.Crapoâ??s comments are available via satellite:1:45-2:15 p.m. Mountain/12:45-1:15 p.m. Pacific TimeGalaxy 3Transponder 7 HorizontalDownlink 3840Audio 6.2. & 6.8# # #FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at http://crapo.senate.gov or www.senate.gov/src/radio/crapo.