Saturday, May 03, 2008

5/3/08 Campaign for the Missing News: Florida Passes!

Project Jason is pleased to announce the passage of the Jennifer Kesse and Tiffany Sessions Missing Persons Act in the state of Florida. It was passed yesterday, and now awaits the governor's signature. It is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2008.

Congratulations to Drew and Joyce Kesse, Jennifer's parents, and all who helped pass this bill, a part of Project Jason's Campaign for the Missing.

Other states passed by Campaign for the Missing volunteers include CT, IN, NJ, and OR.

Here are some highlights of the bill.

Basic Summary:

An act relating to missing persons; amending s. 937.021, F.S.; requiring law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies and procedures to be used when investigating missing person reports; requiring law enforcement agencies to submit information to specified databases; providing immunity from civil liability for certain persons involving such reports; requiring that a law enforcement agency obtain a DNA sample after a person has been missing more than 90 days; requiring the Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules; amending s. 937.022, F.S.;renaming the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse the "Missing Children and Persons Information Clearinghouse"; requiring the clearinghouse to collect and process information regarding missing children, missing persons younger than 26 years of age, and missing persons suspected by a law enforcement agency of being in danger or a victim of criminal activity; providing definitions; providing an effective date.


LE (Law Enforcement) must have written procedures regarding the proper investigation of cases, use of available resources, and monthy review of cases.

Missing persons must be entered into the NCIC and the FL CIC databases within 2 hours.

When a person has been missing for 90 days, DNA may be obtained from the person's belongings or the appropriate biological family members. LE can obtain DNA before the 90 days if need be.

The state clearinghouse shall now also include information about missing persons through age 25, and any missing person LE considered to be engandered or a victim of criminal activity. LE is required to report information about these cases to the state clearinghouse.

FL LE shall establish a means to communicate case information about the case types as noted above.

LE is encouraged to transmit information about the above missing person case types to media and other interested parties who may be on the same distribution list as those on the Amber Alert list. Any person on this list who complies with the request cannot be held liable for any damages in complying with the request to disseminate this information.

(The last point and second point above are the ones which seems to confuse some media into thinking the bill extends the age of Amber Alerts and/or causes an alert to be issued in all cases. As you can see, it does not.)

Thanks again to the families of the missing, such as Jennifer's family, who are willing to step outside of the circle of their own pain, and work to help increase the odds that even just one more family will be reunitied with their missing loved one.

There is always hope.

Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,Project Jason
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