approves “Kelsey Smith Act”
April 11, 2014
Senate today approved a measure introduced by Senator Randy Vulakovich
(R-Allegheny/Butler) intended to save lives by speeding up a process for using
technology to locate missing people.
Bill 1290 would require wireless providers to “ping” the cell phone of a
missing person at the request of law enforcement officials when there is
sufficient information to believe there is a risk or threat of death or serious
measure, also known as the “Kelsey Smith Act,” now goes to the House of
Representatives for consideration. Senator Vulakovich’s bill is named after an 18-year old Kansas woman who
was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2007. The tragedy resulted in a movement by her
parents to ensure that law enforcement authorities can receive assistance from
cell phone providers to help find missing persons.
appreciate the support of my colleagues for this important bill. I hope it will receive the same support in the
House of Representatives and quickly move to the Governor’s desk for his
signature and enactment into law,” said Sen. Vulakovich. “In cases where there is a suspected
abduction, minutes are precious. Obtaining a subpoena can take time and often
delays law enforcement response to situations involving risk of death or
serious injury. This is especially true
when dealing with a missing person believed to be a victim of a crime.”
2005, the FCC has required cell phone manufacturers to include GPS receivers in
all devices. This has allowed
first-responders to pinpoint the location of 911 callers in an emergency. While Pennsylvania law enforcement officials
can request this information from cell phone providers, in most cases a
subpoena is required. SB 1290 would
expedite the process when there is the threat of imminent danger to the victim.
addition to Kansas, thirteen states have passed similar legislation. They are Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota,
Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode
Island, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.