By BOBBY HORN
WASHINGTON D.C. A national alert system designed to help locate missing and abducted children could soon be signed into law.
One of the key proponents of the Child Abduction Act is local Congressman Nick Lampson. For two and a half years I have taken the House floor every day and pleaded for action on this issue. Lampson serves as chairman of the Congressional Caucus for Missing and Exploited Children.
Last week, the House passed their version of the bill which would provide funding for a nationwide Amber Alert and Adam Alert system. A similar bill has already passed the Senate.
Final passage of the bill, however, has been bogged down in committee while members from both houses debate the differences between the two bills over sex offenses.
Lampson has expressed unhappiness with his colleagues over letting the bill go to committee. It would have been beneficial to children to let the Amber bill move on its own while we take the time to go through this difficult legislative package.
The Amber Alert was named after nine-year old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped from her Arlington home and later found murdered. Under the alert system, when a child is discovered missing, a bulletin is sent out through local media and law enforcement agencies. Under the proposed bill, federal funds would be used to expand the alert system nationwide and provide matching grants for local agencies.
The Adam Alert is named for Adam Walsh, son of Americas Most Wanted creator John Walsh, who was abducted from a shopping mall and murdered in 1981.
Under the house bill, a description of a child missing in a federal building would be communicated around the building and employees would monitor exits. Police would them be notified if the child does not turn up within 10 minutes. Some businesses, such as Wal-Mart have already instituted similar Adam Alert plans.
Also in the House version of the bill is an amendment aimed at banning computer -simulated child pornography. This is in response to the Supreme Court striking down a similar Virginia law in 1996, stating that it was too vague.
Once out of committee, the President has promised to sign the legislation.
By BOBBY HORN