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house Bill H.R. 5075

Establishing a National Alert System for Missing Adults

Argument in favor

There are missing person alerts for children and seniors, but no equivalent for missing adults. This means that when adults ages 18 to 65 go missing, there’s no national alert system to help law enforcement find them through civilian tips and heightened awareness by the general public. This bill would change that by creating Ashanti Alerts that apply to adults.

Jeffrey's Opinion
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12/20/2018
Good idea...adults are just as important as kids and should be looked for just as children. I’m surprised they haven’t already had this considering the sex and human traffickers out there
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KansasTamale's Opinion
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12/21/2018
Yes. Too many people, mostly women are disappearing and no one does anything.
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davidf's Opinion
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12/21/2018
Women in particular seem most frequently at risk of disappearance, and are often found dead if their bodies are found at all. This alert system definitely needs to be developed and promoted.
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Argument opposed

Existing channels, such as social media and local news, are already enough to help local law enforcement get the word out about missing persons of any age. It’s not necessary to build and maintain a new missing person alert network that’ll require federal money and employee time to manage.

eliyak's Opinion
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12/20/2018
If we ignore the national debt it goes away, right?
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Timothy's Opinion
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12/20/2018
Why? We are $21,000,000,000,000 in DEBT and haven’t had a budget in over 10 years for the Federal Government. Let’s get some focus on what is important and stop playing these games on feel good legislation.
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Brian's Opinion
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12/20/2018
Existing channels, such as social media and local news, are already enough to help local law enforcement get the word out about missing persons of any age. It’s not necessary to build and maintain a new missing person alert network that’ll require federal money and employee time to manage.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5075?

This bill — the Ashanti Alert Act of 2018 — would establish an an new national alert network at the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) to aid local and regional law enforcement efforts to search for missing adults between the ages of 18-65. This system, which would be called the Ashanti Alert communications network, would use a wide array of media outlets, such as commercial radio stations, television stations, highway billboards, and cable television, to broadcast information about missing persons.

This bill would also set a minimum standard for issuing alerts if the person suffers from a proven mental or physical disability, if law enforcement believes their physical safety is endangered, or if they believe their disappearance may not have been voluntary.

In the current version of this bill, the Ashanti Alert is integrated with the Blue Network instead of AMBER Alerts so that information about missing adults and children are kept separate and to prevent duplication.

An Ashanti Alert Coordinator, who’d be a DOJ employee, would be responsible for:

  • Working with states to coordinate the development of additional Ashanti Alert plans in the network;

  • Establishing voluntary guidelines for states to use in developing Ashanti Alert plans that are compatible and integrated with Ashanti Alert plans through the U.S.;

  • Developing proposed protocols for recovering missing adults, working with states to ensure appropriate regional coordination of the Ashanti Alert network; and

  • Establishing an advisory board to assist states, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and other entities involved in the Ashanti Alert communications network with initiating, facilitating, and promoting Ashanti Alert plans.

The Ashanti Alert Coordinator would also be responsible for coordinating and consulting with the Secretary of Transportation, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Assistant Secretary for Aging of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS), and other appropriate DOJ offices in coordinating activities to support Ashanti Alerts.

Finally, the Ashanti Alert Coordinator would submit a an annual report to Congress detailing: the states that have established Ashanti Alerts, the states that are in the process of establishing Ashanti Alerts, and information on Ashanti Alert use in each state with Ashanti Alerts.

Impact

Missing adults; local law enforcement; DOJ; FCC; DHS; and Blue Network.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5075

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) introduced this bill to help local and regional law enforcement efforts to search for missing adults by utilizing a wide array of media outlets — such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable television — to broadcast information about missing persons ages 18 to 65:

"Giving law enforcement the similar ability of an Amber alert, but for missing adults will rapidly bring government and public resources to bear. This legislation will, no doubt, save lives and help prevent future tragedies. Sometimes lessons learned come from the worst case scenarios, such as the Ashanti Billie case, but from the dark we can help bring light."

Original cosponsor Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) added that it makes sense to have an Amber Alert-type system for missing adults:

“We already have emergency alert systems to help us locate missing children and senior citizens, but what about missing and endangered adults?  This bipartisan proposal gives state and local law enforcement the tools to issue emergency alerts for people between 18 and 65 who go missing. I’m proud to join Congressman Taylor and other colleagues in introducing this legislation that we hope will help our families and save lives.”

Brandy Billie, mother of Ashanti Billie, the 19-year-old whom this bill is named for, says this bill would “fix the void” in missing persons alerts:

“The Ashanti Alert is here to help those that go missing.To get them attention. Until we had this, the loss of Ashanti, we didn’t know there wasn’t an alert in place for adults between 18-65.  The Ashanti Alert will fix the void.”

The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) supports this bill. The NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, says this bill help help law enforcement find missing persons more quickly and effectively:

“[The] Ashanti Alert Act of 2018 will help ensure that law enforcement has the information necessary to swiftly recover missing persons and accurately inform the general public about breaking news of a missing or endangered adult. NAPO believes that the establishment of a stand-alone Ashanti Alert Network will help prevent horrible tragedies like case of Ashanti Billie.”

The National Association to PROTECT Children, which also supports this bill, adds that the emphasis on finding missing children has left missing adults largely ignored:

“The Ashanti Alert is long overdue. For decades, emphasis has been on finding missing children, while missing endangered adults has largely been ignored. With increases in human trafficking, murder and intimate partner violence, it’s time that the national crisis of women disappearing and being subjected to violence is met with the urgency it deserves.”

This bill passed the House on a voice vote with the support of four cosponsors, including two Republicans and two Democrats. It was then referred to the Senate, where it was passed unanimously with a substitute amendment. It has the support of the NAPO, The National Association to PROTECT Children, and NAACP.


Of NoteThis bill is named after 19-year-old Ashanti Billie, who was abducted from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia, where she worked. Ashanti went missing in September 2017, when she never showed up for work. Her body was found a week and a half later behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At the time of her appearance, Ashanti was too old for an Amber Alert and too young for a Silver Alert. In the aftermath of their daughter’s death, Ashanti’s parents, Meltony and Brandy, have become advocates for alert systems for adults ages 18 to 65, who aren’t eligible for Amber Alerts (used for missing children up to 18 years old) or Silver Alerts (used for missing senior citizens over 65 years old).

Amber Alerts have existed since 1996, offering a number of methods for communicating to the public that a local child has been abducted or gone missing. Although there’s no federal version, more than half of states also have Silver Alerts for missing people over age 65. Because there are some differences between the Senate and House versions of this bill (for example, the House bill integrates Ashanti Alerts with the AMBER Alert system, while the current, Senate version integrates Ashanti Alerts with the Blue Alert system).


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / solitude72)

AKA

Ashanti Alert Act of 2018

Official Title

To encourage, enhance, and integrate Ashanti Alert plans throughout the United States, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed December 20th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 386 Yea / 2 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 20th, 2018

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    Good idea...adults are just as important as kids and should be looked for just as children. I’m surprised they haven’t already had this considering the sex and human traffickers out there
    Like (13)
    Follow
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    If we ignore the national debt it goes away, right?
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    Why? We are $21,000,000,000,000 in DEBT and haven’t had a budget in over 10 years for the Federal Government. Let’s get some focus on what is important and stop playing these games on feel good legislation.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Women in particular seem most frequently at risk of disappearance, and are often found dead if their bodies are found at all. This alert system definitely needs to be developed and promoted.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. Too many people, mostly women are disappearing and no one does anything.
    Like (6)
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    We’ve got one for young kids and one for elderly adults with special needs. Why not do the same for the people in between?
    Like (4)
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    Existing channels, such as social media and local news, are already enough to help local law enforcement get the word out about missing persons of any age. It’s not necessary to build and maintain a new missing person alert network that’ll require federal money and employee time to manage.
    Like (3)
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    Wonderful!
    Like (3)
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    Since we have an Amber alert system for missing children, there’s no reason why we can’t have an alert system for missing adults. Adults can be incredibly vulnerable as well!
    Like (3)
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    there national warning system that is used for tornado, hurricanes nuckler war, war, terrorist attacks, and for amber alerts child kidnapping no reason it can not be used for more things. it does not raise cost because the warning system is already in place - just getting more bang for the buck.
    Like (3)
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    Many adults go missing every day. A lot of them are native American women why seem to be of no concern to anyone. Living in MOntana many of these women are completely ignored. We need to try and find out what has happened to any person ( Child or Adult) who has gone missing. There families suffer if they don't know what has happened to them.
    Like (3)
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    This should be a no brainer with today’s technology. A national alert system should be in place for any emergencies that could prevent any victims.
    Like (3)
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    Yes
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    This should have been put in place, years ago.
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    Really makes sense. Some of the adults may drive off to another state and not know where he/she's going. National alert may help spot the driver drivning wiht no direction.
    Like (2)
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    This is potentially life saving legislation for missing adults. Vote yes.
    Like (2)
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    There are missing person alerts for children and seniors, but no equivalent for missing adults. This means that when adults ages 18 to 65 go missing, there’s no national alert system to help law enforcement find them through civilian tips and heightened awareness by the general public. This bill would change that by creating Ashanti Alerts that apply to adults.
    Like (2)
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    Absolutely.
    Like (2)
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    Yes,absolutely
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    Yes, I don’t know how many men go missing but I have heard 1,500 women and children go missing a week!!! Adults need help being found too.
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