Sens. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) have introduced a bill to reauthorize federal grants to fund implementation of the AMBER Alert system and to expand eligibility to all U.S. territories. AMBER Alerts about missing children are distributed through wireless emergency alerts to cellphones, among other means. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children recently reported that 924 abducted children have been recovered due to Amber Alerts (TR Daily, May 30).
“AMBER Alerts have helped save hundreds of children. There’s no good reason for U.S. territories to be excluded from this system,” Sen. Schatz said.
“[W]e are long overdue in providing all of our territories with access to this essential and effective service,” Sen. Murkowski said.
Under the original grant program established in 2003, only the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were eligible for grant funding. The legislation proposed by Sens. Schatz and Murkowski would make all five U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — eligible for grants.
Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D., Guam) has introduced a companion bill in the House. —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org