BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 643


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          Date of Hearing:  April 6, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          AB 643  
          (Nazarian) - As Introduced February 24, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Emergency services:  Silver Alerts


          SUMMARY:  Authorizes the use of changeable messages signs to  
          disseminate information regarding a Silver Alert.  


          EXISTING LAW:  





          1)At the federal level, establishes the Emergency Alert System  
            (EAS), a national public warning system that requires  
            broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable  
            systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers, and  
            direct broadcast satellite providers to provide the  
            communications capability to the President to address the  
            American public during a national emergency.  State and local  
            authorities may also use the system to deliver important  
            emergency information.

          2)Authorizes use of the EAS for "Amber Alerts," a program  
            designed to aid in the recovery of an abducted child or an  
            individual with a proven mental or physical disability when  








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            all of the following conditions have been met:  



             a)   A law enforcement agency determines that the victim is  
               in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death; and



             b)   There is information available that, if disseminated to  
               the general public, could assist in the safe recovery of  
               the victim.



          3)Requires the California Highway Patrol (CHP), in consultation  
            with others, to develop policies and procedures to instruct  
            agencies how to carry out an Amber Alert.



          4)Authorizes use of the EAS for "Blue Alerts," a quick response  
            system designed to issue and coordinate alerts when a law  
            enforcement officer has been killed or is seriously injured  
            and when all the following conditions have been met: 



             a)   The suspect has fled the scene and poses an imminent  
               threat to public safety;



             b)   A detailed description of the suspect's vehicle or  
               license plate is available for broadcasting; and



             c)   There is information available that, if disseminated to  








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               the general public, could help avert further harm or  
               accelerate apprehension of the suspect.



          5)Establishes a Silver Alert notification system, designed to  
            issue and coordinate alerts if a person that is age 65 years  
            or older, developmentally disabled, or cognitively impaired is  
            missing and if the following conditions have been met:



             a)   A law enforcement agency has used all available local  
               resources to locate the missing person;



             b)   The missing person is believed to be in danger because  
               of, for example, health or weather conditions; and



             c)   It has been determined that the public dissemination of  
               information may lead to a safe recovery of the missing  
               person. 



          6)Directs CHP, upon activation of a Silver Alert, to issue a  
            be-on-the-lookout alert, an Emergency Digital Information  
            Service message, or and electronic flyer.
          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  AB 415 (Runner), Chapter 517, Statutes of 2002,  
          created California's Amber Alert program and authorized law  
          enforcement agencies to use the national EAS to disseminate  
          relevant child abduction information.  









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          Following on the success of the Amber Alert program, the Blue  
          Alert and the Silver Alert programs were developed.  The Blue  
          Alert program, established by SB 839 (Runner), Chapter 311,  
          Statutes of 2010, also uses the EAS to provide for public  
          notification when a law enforcement officer has been attacked.   
          The Silver Alert program, originally established by SB 1047  
          (Alquist), Chapter 651, Statutes of 2012, provides for public  
          notification when a person who is age 65 years or older,  
          developmentally disabled, or cognitively impaired is missing.  
            
          The Silver Alert program differs notably from the Amber Alert  
          and Blue Alert programs.  In the event a Silver Alert is issued,  
          the CHP may use any of the following resources:

          a)Be-On-The-Lookout (BOLO): These announcements are broadcast by  
            CHP communication centers to CHP personnel located in the  
            affected areas.  BOLOs contain suspect, victim, and vehicle  
            information, if available.

          b)Emergency Digital Information Service:  This service provides  
            local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with a  
            direct computer link to media outlets and other law  
            enforcement agencies. 

          c)APBnet:  This is an image-based system operated a by  
            non-profit organization and links state, county, and local law  
            enforcement.  The system captures and immediately distributes  
            color photographs and images to law enforcement agencies, the  
            media, and other organizations. 

          Existing law does not authorize use of the EAS or changeable  
          message signs for Silver Alerts. 

          California has 790 changeable message signs on state highways  
          that are governed by both federal and California regulations.   
          These regulations generally limit the use of changeable message  
          signs to traffic operations, regulatory, warning and guidance  
          information.  Additionally, the signs are used for Amber Alerts  
          and Blue Alerts.








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          The author has introduced this measure to improve the  
          effectiveness of the Silver Alert program.  He notes that  
          Californians drive over 300 billion miles annually and,  
          consequently, have frequent exposure to changeable message  
          signs, primarily along the state's freeway corridors.  In  
          authorizing the use of these changeable message signs to  
          disseminate information regarding Silver Alerts, the author  
          hopes this exposure will lead to the safe return of missing  
          persons.

          Committee concerns and suggested amendment:  In each of the two  
          years since the Silver Alert was created, there were over 150  
          alert activations and about 10 recoveries because of the alert.   
          While the author's intent to use changeable message signs to  
          improve recovery of missing and vulnerable persons is laudable,  
          use of changeable message signs for all Silver Alerts could  
          lessen the effectiveness of the changeable message signs and  
          reduce the safety benefits the signs otherwise provide.  

          The committee suggests that the bill be amended, consistent with  
          requirements in the Blue Alert program, to allow the use of  
          changeable message signs for Silver Alerts only when the law  
          enforcement agency determines that a vehicle may be involved in  
          the missing person incident and specific vehicle identification  
          data is available for public dissemination.  

          Double referral:  This bill will be referred to the Assembly  
          Aging and Long Term Care Committee should it pass out of this  
          committee.



          Related legislation: AB 8 (Gato) authorizes CHP to assist other  
          law enforcement agencies in investigating certain hit-and-run  
          incidents by issuing a "Yellow Alert" via a local digital sign.   
          AB 8 passed out of Assembly Transportation unanimously and was  
          referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee. 









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          AB 400 (Alejo) authorizes the use of changeable message signs  
          for voter registration and Election Day reminders.  The bill  
          passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee 13-2 and is  
          currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


          Previous legislation:  AB 47 (Gatto) of 2014 was identical to  
          this session's AB 8.  It was vetoed by Governor Brown on the  
          grounds that similar legislation adding developmentally disabled  
          persons to the alert system had just been signed.  The Governor  
          pointed out in his veto message that expansion of the system  
          should be tested before other categories of individuals are  
          added.

          SB 1127 (Torres) Chapter 440, Statutes of 2014, included a  
          missing person who is developmentally disabled or cognitively  
          impaired among persons who may be the subject of a "Silver  
          Alert."

          SB 1047 (Alquist), Chapter 651, Statutes of 2012, created the  
          "Silver Alert" notification system designed to issue and  
          coordinate alerts to inform the public when a person who is age  
          65 years or older is missing.  

          SB 839 (Runner) Chapter 311, Statutes of 2010, created the "Blue  
          Alert" notification system to notify the public when a law  
          enforcement office has been attacked.

          AB 415 (Runner) Chapter 517, Statutes of 2002, established  
          "Amber Alert" system which authorized law enforcement agencies  
          to use the emergency alert system to assist recovery efforts in  
          child abduction cases.
          
          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:












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          Support


          California Senior Legislature (Sponsor)


          Association of Regional Center Agencies


          California Assisted Living Association


          California College and University Police Chiefs


          California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association


          Center for Autism & Related Disorders




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Janet Dawson / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093















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