Legislation Update

California Legislature

 

PAUL COOK
Assemblyman, 65th District

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                        CONTACT:  Sam Cannon

September 10, 2010                                                                                      (916) 319-2065

                                                                                               

Governor to Sign Missing Children Bills Sponsored by More Kids

 

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) and Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) are pleased to announce that Governor Schwarzenegger plans to sign their major package of legislation dealing with missing children and sex offenders.  The bill package sponsored by More Kids, founded by Moe Dubois, the father of 14-year old Amber Dubois, and Rebecca Smith, includes three bills: AB 33, the Peace Officer Missing Child Standards Act; AB 34, the Missing Child Notification Protection Act; and AB 1022, the Missing Persons Coordination Act

 

The legislation was introduced after the tragic abduction, assault, and murder of 14-year old Amber Dubois by known sex offender John Gardner.  In a bipartisan effort, Assemblymembers Cook and Nava joined with More Kids to work on a package of bills that would help prevent tragedies, such as that which befell Amber, from happening.  The package of bills will overhaul law enforcement training, response, and statewide coordination and shorten the response timeframe when children go missing, which will improve the odds of a child being returned home safely.  Currently, there is often little coordination between various agencies, and there is no requirement that law enforcement agencies have a plan in place when a child goes missing.

 

Said Moe Dubois, “We at More Kids are very excited Governor Schwarzenegger has announced that he intends on signing into law all three of our proposed bills aimed at improving the recovery of missing children. These three bills are our first three steps in efforts to provide the missing children of California with the best possible opportunity for a safe recovery.”

 

AB 33 disseminates the California Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST)’s “Guidelines For Handling Missing Persons Investigations” via a Department of Justice (DOJ) bulletin and through the California Law Enforcement Website.  It also directs POST to update their Guidelines For Handling Missing Persons Investigations.  It requires law enforcement agencies to adopt a checklist document for missing person investigations, establish guidelines on missing persons investigations, and utilize a missing person reporting form (by January 1, 2012).  Finally, AB 33 directs the DOJ, through the Violent Crimes Information Center (VCIC) to create a list of possible suspects and provide that list to law enforcement, in the event of a suspected stranger abduction of a child.

 

AB 34 requires law enforcement agencies to file credible missing persons reports with the National Crime Information Center and the California Violent Crime Information Center within two hours of receipt of the report.  It also allows the state Attorney General to provide these important details to qualified organizations that will provide valuable help in finding missing persons.  These first hours are most important in finding a missing person, and this bill will allow the pertinent details of missing persons to reach the federal level and the right people in a timely manner.

 

AB 1022 creates the position of a Missing Persons Coordinator within the California Department of Justice. This new director will assist law enforcement agencies with the timely search and recovery of at-risk abducted children; utilize existing resources and expertise within the Attorney General’s office to the extent possible; and maintain up-to-date knowledge and expertise of protocols, best practices and technologies that are most effective for recovering missing children in a timely manner.

 

Said Assemblymember Cook, “I’m excited that the Governor will sign our bills into law.  These bills are the most important pieces of legislation that I have had the privilege of working on during my time in Sacramento.  I want to thank Moe Dubois and Rebecca Smith for their hard, dedicated work on these issues.  They have been able to turn a horrible tragedy into an opportunity to prevent tragedies like this in the future.  As a parent, I believe our children will be safer and better protected because of these three bills.”

 

Said former prosecutor now Assemblymember Nava, “I am very pleased that the Governor has indicated that he will sign this legislative package. As a parent, the idea that someone would hurt my child makes me furious. Make no mistake; there are monsters out there that have no regard for human life. There is no punishment harsh enough for someone who would molest, brutalize and kill a child. Mr. Dubois has transformed his loss in a way that benefits all California’s families. For over a year he visited police departments up and down this state looking for ways to help find missing kids. Time is your enemy when a child is missing. These three bills reduce the amount of time a child is missing. These three bills represent his work and prayers.”

 

The Governor has not yet indicated a date for signing the bills.

 

Assemblyman Paul Cook represents the Inland Empire, including portions of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

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