H. B. 2910
(By Delegates Mahan, Stalnaker, Long, Craig and Trump)
[Introduced February 7, 2003; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend chapter fifteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article three-a, relating to
the establishment of an "Amber alert" system to be utilized to
rapidly disseminate information with regard to abducted and
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter fifteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article three-a, to read as
§15-3A-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as "Amber's
§15-3A-2. Findings and determinations relative to "Amber's Plan."
(a) The Legislature finds and determines that:
(1) Public alerts can be one of the most effective tools in
combating child abductions;
(2) Law enforcement officers and other professionals
specializing in the field of abducted and missing children agree
that the most critical moments in the search for an abducted child
are the first few hours immediately following the abduction,
asserting that if a child is not found within two to four hours, it
is unlikely that child will be found alive;
(3) The rapid dissemination of information, including a
description of the missing child, details of the abduction,
abductor and vehicle involved, to the citizens of the affected
community and region is, therefore, critical;
(4) Alerted to an abduction, the citizenry become an
extensive network of eyes and ears serving to assist law
enforcement in quickly locating and safely recovering the child;
(5) The most effective method of immediately notifying the
public of a child abduction is through the broadcast media.
(b) The Legislature declares that given the successes other
states and regions have experienced in using broadcast media alerts
to quickly locate and safely recover abducted children, it is
altogether fitting and proper, and within the public interest, to
establish such a program for West Virginia.
§15-3A-3. Establishment of "Amber's Plan".
(a) The secretary of the department of military affairs and
public safety shall establish "Amber's Plan," a program authorizing
the broadcast media, upon notice from the state police, to transmit
an emergency alert to inform the public of a child abduction. The
program shall be a voluntary, cooperative effort between state and
local law enforcement agencies and the broadcast media.
(b) The secretary shall notify the broadcast media serving
the state of West Virginia of the establishment of "Amber's Plan"
and invite their voluntary participation.
§15-3A-4. Activation of amber alert.
The following criteria shall be met before the state police
activate the amber alert:
(1) The child is believed to be abducted;
(2) The child is 17 years of age or younger;
(3) The child may be in danger of death or serious bodily
(4) There is sufficient information available to indicate
that an amber alert would assist in locating the child.
§15-3A-5. Notice to participating media; broadcast of alert.
(a) The participating media shall voluntarily agree, upon
notice from the state police, to transmit emergency alerts to
inform the public of a child abduction that has occurred within
their broadcast service regions. The notice shall be provided through the state police operational dispatch unit.
(b) The alerts shall be read after a distinctive sound tone
and the statement: "This is an Amber Abducted Child Alert." The
alerts shall be broadcast as often as possible, pursuant to the
guidelines established by the West Virginia Broadcasters'
Association, for the first three hours. After the initial three
hours, the alert shall be rebroadcast at such intervals as the
investigating authority, the state police and the participating
media deem appropriate.
(c) The alerts shall include a description of the child, such
details of the abduction and abductor as may be known, and such
other information as the state police
may deem pertinent and appropriate. The state police shall in a
timely manner update the broadcast media with new information when
appropriate concerning the
(d) The alerts also shall provide information concerning how
those members of the public who have information relating to the
abduction may contact the state police or other appropriate law
(e) Concurrent with the notice provided to the broadcast
media, the state police operational dispatch unit shall also notify
the department of transportation, the division of highways and the
west virginia turnpike commission of the "Amber Alert." Through the use of their variable message signs, the department and the
affected authorities shall inform the motoring public that an
"Amber Alert" is in progress and provide information relating to
the abduction and how motorists may report any information they
have to the state police or other appropriate law enforcement
(f) The alerts shall terminate upon notice from the state
(g) The secretary, with the assistance of the participating
broadcast media, shall develop and undertake a public education
campaign to inform the public about "Amber's Plan" and the
emergency alert program established under this article.
The secretary may adopt guidelines to effectuate the purposes
of this article.
§15-3A-7. Rule-making Authority.
The secretary may propose such legislative rule or rules, for
promulgation in accordance with the provisions of chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code, as may be necessary to effectuate the
purposes of this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish an "Amber
alert" system to be utilized to rapidly disseminate information
with regard to abducted and missing children.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.