Senate passes AMBER act

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The Senate has passed the AMBER Alert act by unanimous consent.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) and Kay Bailey
Hutchinson (R-Texas), would create a national alert system and help to fund local
efforts.

The AMBER alert -- named after a child who was kidnapped
and killed in Texas -- is a joint effort by law enforcement and the electronic
media to provide information on child abductions as quickly and effectively as
possible.

Under terms of the bill, up to $25 million would be available to help states,
cities and communities throughout the country set up AMBER alert systems. They
are already active in 17 states.

The money would also cover a national coordinator to issue alerts in states
bordering the state where a kidnapping has occurred.

Similar legislation is being offered in the House by Reps. Martin Frost
(D-Texas) and Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.). The House bill would provide $99.5
million for the AMBER alert program.

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