As a conservative who rarely agrees with the votes of our Democrat senators and congressman, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Senators Warner and Kaine and Congressman Beyer for their roles in the bipartisan efforts promoting the Ashanti Alert Act through Congress. President Trump signed it into law on Dec. 31, 2018.
Utah State Representative Lee Perry has introduced H.B. 215, a bill to create a Silver Alert program in the Beehive State.
H.B. 215 requires the Department of Public Safety to develop an alert system similar to the Amber Alert System for endangered adults; and requires that the system utilize highway signage in the geographical area where the 16 person went missing. The bill defines the term “endangered adult” as a person 60 years of age or older with dementia.
Read more about Utah Silver Alert legislation at KUCW-TV.
New Mexico State Senator Sen. Richard Martinez (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and Santa Fe counties) has introduced SB 42 the Missing Person Notification Requirements Act. One of the proposed changes in this bill relates to the current age requirement for Silver Alert notifications. SB 42 would exempt the endangered person from the age requirement of 50 years or older if there is a clear indication that the individual suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. This would align New Mexico’s Silver Alert policy with several other states that have already passed similar change.
Tommy Hernandez, the public policy director of the New Mexico Alzheimer’s Association, made the case for SB 42 in an oped in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
The bill also would provide a plan for collecting and maintaining records on each Silver Alert issued so that data-driven decisions can be made in the future. Currently, there is no plan to collect and maintain records and data on these notifications. Further, this legislation would establish a procedure for a text message notification on the endangered person, similar to an Amber Alert text.
This bill is urgently needed. Our state’s population of people age 65 and older will grow at a much faster rate than the national average. Aging is the single biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. According to the New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services Department’s website, “By the year 2030, New Mexico’s percentage of population over age 65 will move from 29th to fourth-largest in the nation.”
We look forward to advocating in strong support of this much-needed bill on behalf of the nearly 39,000 people living with this disease and the 110,000 selfless caregivers in our state today, and call on our policymakers to support it.