House passes Amber Alert


The House Thursday overwhelmingly (410-14) passed child-protection
legislation that establishes a national Amber Alert system.

There are currently local and regional Amber Alert systems in 38 states, in
which police team up with local media to quickly spread the word of child
abductions, but child-protection advocates have been pushing for a coordinated
national system.

The bill was fast-tracked by Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner
(R-Wis.). After the abducted Elizabeth Smart was recovered alive and her father,
Ed Smart, America's Most Wanted's John Walsh and others pushed publicly
for its immediate passage.

The bill now goes to conference committee to reconcile it with a Senate
child-pornography bill passed in February. "I am committed to resolving the
differences promptly," Sensenbrenner said.

The administration is backing the effort.

At a White House Conference on Missing and Exploited Children last October,
President George W. Bush asked the Department of Justice to create an Amber
Alert coordinator position to oversee the implementation of national standards
for the program.

He also said $10 million from existing funds will be earmarked for Amber
Alert training programs.

The Amber Alert was started in the president's home state of Texas in