Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has signed legislation that will speed up the process of issuing Amber Alerts for missing children throughout the state.
The measure, known as “Hailey’s Law,” was named after 10-year-old Hailey Owens of Springfield. In February 2014, she was lured into a car by a stranger, raped and later killed. At the time, the Amber Alert process was burdened with several steps that kept alerts from going out sooner.
“When you wanted to issue an Amber Alert, you had to either phone it in or fax in a physical piece of paper to the Amber Alert system,” said state Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, a sponsor of the new legislation.
With this change, law enforcement will issue alerts electronically, not only making it easier, but also faster when a child goes missing. Trent said budgeting for the integration system began in 2014 so there is no initial cost to law enforcement. This law also requires the Amber Alert board to meet annually to evaluate the Amber Alert system.
At the bill signing on Thursday, Hailey’s father, Markus Owens, thanked the governor on behalf of his family.
The measure failed to earn enough votes twice in the General Assembly, but then was added to an omnibus bill related to child safety throughout Missouri. Also included in the legislation is "Simon’s Law," which requires parental notification before doctors issue a do-not-resuscitate order on a minor.
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