Senate approves ‘Kelsey Smith Act’ to help locate kidnap victims

Mike Seals - March 3, 2021 11:50 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate has given approval to a bill to help law enforcement locate kidnap victims faster.  Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, is the author of Senate Bill 272, the “Kelsey Smith Act,” which would require cell phone companies to provide phone location information to law enforcement in emergency situations, such as an abduction.

The bill is named for an 18-year-old from Kansas who was abducted from a store parking lot in 2007.  She was found murdered four days later.  Since Kelsey’s death, parents have been working to pass legislation throughout the country to give emergency access to information to locate the cell phone of an abducted person.  About 26 states have already adopted some form of this legislation. Smith’s mother contacted Weaver about passing a similar bill in Oklahoma.

“I want to thank my fellow members for supporting this bill.  When minutes count, having the ability to ping and locate a cell phone quickly can mean the difference between life and death, and that’s why Kelsey’s parents have taken on this cause—they don’t want another family to go through something like this,” Weaver said.  “In that case, police couldn’t get the information they needed until it was too late.  This legislation can help us save lives.”

The measure would only apply to emergency situations involving risk of death or serious physical harm.  Additionally, the cell service provider would have to notify the customer within 30 days that the phone had been pinged in order to help find a missing person. Weaver said while most Oklahoma cell service providers have worked well with law enforcement, this bill will ensure a consistent approach and provide liability protection for companies acting in good faith.

SB 272 now moves to the House of Representatives.  Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, is principal author in the House.

For more information, contact Sen. Darrell Weaver at 405-521-5569 or email [email protected].

 

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