NATIONAL SILVER ALERT ACT

September 15, 2008
Floor Statements

September 15, 2008

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia: Mr. Speaker, thousands of vulnerable older adults go missing each year as a result of dementia, diminished capacity, foul play, and other unusual circumstances.

For example, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America estimates that more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease. It is estimated that 60 percent of these men and women are likely to wander from their homes. If they do, the disorientation and confusion may keep many from finding their way back home. Their safe return often depends upon them being found quickly. If not found within 24 hours, roughly half risk serious illness, injury, or death.

Three Members of Congress, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Doggett), the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Mrs. Myrick), and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis), individually introduced legislation to address this serious problem in separate bills. H.R. 6064 combines the best parts of these bills into one.

Title I, the National Silver Alert Act, establishes a national program patterned after the successful Amber Alert program for children.

It creates a national Silver Alert coordinator responsible for developing voluntary guidelines, standards, and protocols for States to consider in the creation of their local Silver Alert plans.

It establishes the Department of Justice grant program to help States develop and implement local Silver Alert programs.

And it establishes the Sammy Kirk Voluntary Electronic Monitoring Program which will provide grants for voluntary electronic monitoring services for elderly individuals.

Title II reauthorizes the Kristen's Act which expired in 2005. That act provides for competitive grants to both public and nonprofit private agencies for a national resource center, information clearinghouse, and database for tracking missing adults, training and other related activities.

Mr. Speaker, I commend Mr. Doggett, Mrs. Myrick and Mr. Bilirakis for their hard work and bipartisan efforts to address this critical problem of missing adults.

I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.