Text: H.R.5075 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-401 (12/31/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 401]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 5335]]

                        ASHANTI ALERT ACT OF 2018

[[Page 132 STAT. 5336]]

Public Law 115-401
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To encourage, enhance, and integrate Ashanti Alert plans throughout the 
 United States, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 31, 2018 -  [H.R. 
                                5075]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Ashanti Alert 
Act of 2018. 34 USC 10101 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Ashanti Alert Act of 2018''.
SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF ASHANTI ALERT COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK.

    Kristen's Act (Public Law 106-468; 114 Stat. 2027) is amended--
            (1) by inserting before section 2 (34 U.S.C. 40504) the 
        following:

                          ``TITLE I--GRANTS'';

            (2) by redesignating sections 2 (34 U.S.C. 40504) and 3 (34 
        U.S.C. 40504 note) as sections 101 and 102, respectively;
            (3) in section 101(b), as so redesignated, by striking 
        ``this Act'' and inserting ``this title'';
            (4) in section 102, as so redesignated, by striking ``this 
        Act'' and inserting ``this title''; and
            (5) by adding at the end the following:

            ``TITLE II--ASHANTI ALERT COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK

``SEC. 201. <<NOTE: 34 USC 21901.>>  DEFINITIONS.

    ``In this title:
            ``(1) AMBER alert communications network.--The term `AMBER 
        Alert communications network' means the AMBER Alert 
        communications network established under subtitle A of title III 
        of the PROTECT Act (34 U.S.C. 20501 et seq.).
            ``(2) Ashanti alert.--The term `Ashanti Alert' means an 
        alert issued through the Ashanti Alert communications network, 
        related to a missing adult.
            ``(3) Ashanti alert communications network.--The term 
        `Ashanti Alert communications network' means the national 
        communications network established by the Attorney General under 
        section 202(a).

[[Page 132 STAT. 5337]]

            ``(4) Ashanti alert coordinator of the department of 
        justice; coordinator.--The term `Ashanti Alert Coordinator of 
        the Department of Justice' or `Coordinator' means the employee 
        designated by the Attorney General to act as the national 
        coordinator of the Ashanti Alert communications network under 
        section 203(a).
            ``(5) Ashanti alert plan.--The term `Ashanti Alert plan' 
        means a local element of the Ashanti Alert communications 
        network.
            ``(6) Indian tribe.--The term `Indian Tribe' means a 
        federally recognized Indian Tribe or a Native village, Regional 
        Corporation, or Village Corporation (as those terms are defined 
        in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 
        U.S.C. 1602)).
            ``(7) Missing adult.--The term `missing adult' means an 
        individual who--
                    ``(A) is older than the age for which an alert may 
                be issued through the AMBER Alert communications network 
                in the State or territory of an Indian Tribe in which 
                the individual is identified as a missing individual;
                    ``(B) is identified by a law enforcement agency as a 
                missing individual; and
                    ``(C) meets the requirements to be designated as a 
                missing adult, as determined by the State in which, or 
                the Indian Tribe in the territory of which, the 
                individual is identified as a missing individual.
            ``(8) State.--The term `State' means each of the 50 States, 
        the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the 
        United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
``SEC. 202. <<NOTE: Coordination. 34 USC 21902.>>  ASHANTI ALERT 
                        COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK.

    ``(a) In General.--The Attorney General shall, subject to the 
availability of appropriations, establish a national communications 
network within the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of 
Justice to provide assistance to regional and local search efforts for 
missing adults through the initiation, facilitation, and promotion of 
local elements of the network, in coordination with States, Indian 
Tribes, units of local government, law enforcement agencies, and other 
concerned entities with expertise in providing services to adults.
    ``(b) Integration With Existing Communications Network.--In 
establishing the Ashanti Alert communications network under subsection 
(a), the Attorney General shall coordinate, when advisable, with missing 
person alert systems in existence as of the date of enactment of this 
title, such as the AMBER Alert communications network and Silver Alert 
communications networks.
``SEC. 203. <<NOTE: 34 USC 21903.>>  ASHANTI ALERT COORDINATOR.

    ``(a) National Coordinator Within Department of Justice.--The 
Attorney General <<NOTE: Designation.>>  shall designate an employee of 
the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice to act as 
the national coordinator of the Ashanti Alert communications network.

    ``(b) Duties of the Coordinator.--In acting as the national 
coordinator of the Ashanti Alert communications network, the Coordinator 
shall--

[[Page 132 STAT. 5338]]

            ``(1) work with States and Indian Tribes to encourage the 
        development of additional Ashanti Alert plans in the network;
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Guidelines.>>  establish voluntary guidelines 
        for States and Indian Tribes to use in developing Ashanti Alert 
        plans that will promote compatible and integrated Ashanti Alert 
        plans throughout the United States, including--
                    ``(A) <<NOTE: Lists.>>  a list of the resources 
                necessary to establish an Ashanti Alert plan;
                    ``(B) <<NOTE: Criteria.>>  criteria for evaluating 
                whether a situation warrants issuing an Ashanti Alert, 
                taking into consideration the need for the use of 
                Ashanti Alerts to be limited in scope because the 
                effectiveness of the Ashanti Alert communications 
                network may be affected by overuse, including criteria 
                to determine--
                          ``(i) whether the mental capacity of an adult 
                      who is missing, and the circumstances of his or 
                      her disappearance, including any history of 
                      domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or 
                      human trafficking, warrant the issuance of an 
                      Ashanti Alert; and
                          ``(ii) whether the individual who reports that 
                      an adult is missing is an appropriate and credible 
                      source on which to base the issuance of an Ashanti 
                      Alert;
                    ``(C) a description of the appropriate uses of the 
                Ashanti Alert name to readily identify the nature of 
                search efforts for missing adults; and
                    ``(D) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  recommendations 
                on how to protect the privacy, dignity, independence, 
                autonomy, and safety of any missing adult who may be the 
                subject of an Ashanti Alert;
            ``(3) <<NOTE: Protocols. Procedures.>>  develop proposed 
        protocols for efforts to recover missing adults and to reduce 
        the number of adults who are reported missing, including 
        protocols for procedures that are needed from the time of 
        initial notification of a law enforcement agency that the adult 
        is missing through the time of the return of the adult to 
        family, guardian, or domicile, as appropriate, including--
                    ``(A) public safety communications protocol;
                    ``(B) case management protocol;
                    ``(C) command center operations;
                    ``(D) reunification protocol;
                    ``(E) incident review, evaluation, debriefing, and 
                public information procedures; and
                    ``(F) protocols for declining to issue an Ashanti 
                Alert;
            ``(4) <<NOTE: Coordination.>>  work with States and Indian 
        Tribes to ensure appropriate regional coordination of various 
        elements of the network;
            ``(5) establish an advisory group to assist States, Indian 
        Tribes, units of local government, law enforcement agencies, and 
        other entities involved in the Ashanti Alert communications 
        network with initiating, facilitating, and promoting Ashanti 
        Alert plans, which shall include--
                    ``(A) to the maximum extent practicable, 
                representation from the various geographic regions of 
                the United States; and
                    ``(B) members who are--
                          ``(i) representatives of adult citizen 
                      advocacy groups, law enforcement agencies, victim 
                      service providers (as defined in section 40002(a) 
                      of the Violence

[[Page 132 STAT. 5339]]

                      Against Women Act of 1994 (34 U.S.C. 12291(a)), 
                      and public safety communications;
                          ``(ii) broadcasters, first responders, 
                      dispatchers, and radio station personnel; and
                          ``(iii) representatives of any other 
                      individuals or organizations that the Coordinator 
                      determines are necessary to the success of the 
                      Ashanti Alert communications network; and
            ``(6) act as the nationwide point of contact for--
                    ``(A) the development of the network; and
                    ``(B) regional coordination of alerts for missing 
                adults through the network.

    ``(c) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  Coordination.--
            ``(1) Coordination with other agencies.--The Coordinator 
        shall coordinate and consult with the Secretary of 
        Transportation, the Federal Communications Commission, the 
        Assistant Secretary for Aging of the Department of Health and 
        Human Services, and other appropriate offices of the Department 
        of Justice, including the Office on Violence Against Women, in 
        carrying out activities under this title.
            ``(2) State, tribal, and local coordination.--The 
        Coordinator shall consult with local broadcasters and State, 
        Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies in establishing 
        minimum standards under section 204 and in carrying out other 
        activities under this title, as appropriate.

    ``(d) Annual Reports.--
            ``(1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        enactment of this title, and annually thereafter, the 
        Coordinator shall submit to Congress a report on--
                    ``(A) the activities of the Coordinator; and
                    ``(B) the effectiveness and status of the Ashanti 
                Alert plan of each State or Indian Tribe that has 
                established or is in the process of establishing such a 
                plan.
            ``(2) Contents.--Each report under paragraph (1) shall 
        include--
                    ``(A) <<NOTE: Lists.>>  a list of each State or 
                Indian Tribe that has established an Ashanti Alert plan;
                    ``(B) <<NOTE: Lists.>>  a list of each State or 
                Indian Tribe that is in the process of establishing an 
                Ashanti Alert plan;
                    ``(C) for each State or Indian Tribe that has 
                established an Ashanti Alert plan, to the extent the 
                data is available--
                          ``(i) the number of Ashanti Alerts issued;
                          ``(ii) the number of missing adults located 
                      successfully;
                          ``(iii) the average period of time between the 
                      issuance of an Ashanti Alert and the location of 
                      the missing adult for whom the Alert was issued;
                          ``(iv) the State or Tribal agency or authority 
                      issuing Ashanti Alerts, and the process by which 
                      Ashanti Alerts are disseminated;
                          ``(v) the cost of establishing and operating 
                      the Ashanti Alert plan;
                          ``(vi) the criteria used by the State or 
                      Indian Tribe to determine whether to issue an 
                      Ashanti Alert; and
                          ``(vii) the extent to which missing adults for 
                      whom Ashanti Alerts were issued crossed State 
                      lines or territorial borders of an Indian Tribe;

[[Page 132 STAT. 5340]]

                    ``(D) actions States and Indian Tribes have taken to 
                protect the privacy and dignity of the missing adults 
                for whom Ashanti Alerts are issued;
                    ``(E) ways that States and Indian Tribes have 
                facilitated and improved communication about missing 
                adults between families, caregivers, law enforcement 
                officials, and other authorities; and
                    ``(F) any other information the Coordinator 
                determines to be appropriate.
``SEC. 204. <<NOTE: 34 USC 21904.>>  MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR 
                        ISSUANCE AND DISSEMINATION OF ALERTS 
                        THROUGH ASHANTI ALERT COMMUNICATIONS 
                        NETWORK.

    ``(a) Establishment of Minimum Standards.--Subject to subsection 
(b), the Coordinator shall establish minimum standards for--
            ``(1) the issuance of alerts through the Ashanti Alert 
        communications network; and
            ``(2) the extent of the dissemination of alerts issued 
        through the Ashanti Alert communications network.

    ``(b) Limitations.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination. Consultation.>>  Dissemination 
        of information.--The minimum standards established under 
        subsection (a) shall, to the maximum extent practicable (as 
        determined by the Coordinator in consultation with State, 
        Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies), provide for the 
        dissemination of appropriate information relating to the special 
        needs of a missing adult (including health care needs) to the 
        appropriate law enforcement, public health, and other public 
        officials.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Determination. Consultation.>>  Geographic 
        areas.--The minimum standards established under subsection (a) 
        shall, to the maximum extent practicable (as determined by the 
        Coordinator in consultation with State, Tribal, and local law 
        enforcement agencies), provide that the dissemination of an 
        alert through the Ashanti Alert communications network shall be 
        limited to the geographic areas that the missing adult could 
        reasonably reach, considering--
                    ``(A) the circumstances and physical and mental 
                condition of the missing adult;
                    ``(B) the modes of transportation available to the 
                missing adult; and
                    ``(C) the circumstances of the disappearance.
            ``(3) Other requirements.--The minimum standards established 
        under subsection (a) shall require that, in order for an Ashanti 
        Alert to be issued for a missing adult, the missing adult--
                    ``(A) suffers from a proven mental or physical 
                disability, as documented by a source determined 
                credible by an appropriate law enforcement agency; or
                    ``(B) be missing under circumstances that indicate, 
                as determined by an appropriate law enforcement agency--
                          ``(i) that the physical safety of the missing 
                      adult may be endangered; or
                          ``(ii) that the disappearance of the missing 
                      adult may not have been voluntary, including an 
                      abduction or kidnapping.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5341]]

            ``(4) Safety, privacy, and civil liberties protections.--The 
        minimum standards established under subsection (a) shall--
                    ``(A) ensure that alerts issued through the Ashanti 
                Alert communications network comply with all applicable 
                Federal, State, Tribal, and local privacy laws and 
                regulations;
                    ``(B) include standards that specifically provide 
                for the protection of the civil liberties and sensitive 
                medical information of missing adults; and
                    ``(C) include standards requiring, as appropriate, a 
                review of relevant court records, prior contacts with 
                law enforcement, and other information relevant to the 
                missing adult or the individual reporting, in order to 
                provide protections against domestic violence.
            ``(5) State, tribal, and local voluntary coordination.--In 
        establishing minimum standards under subsection (a), the 
        Coordinator may not interfere with the system of voluntary 
        coordination between local broadcasters and State, Tribal, and 
        local law enforcement agencies for purposes of regional and 
        local search efforts for missing adults that was in effect on 
        the day before the date of enactment of this title.
``SEC. 205. <<NOTE: 34 USC 21905.>>  VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION.

    ``The minimum standards established under section 204(a), and any 
other guidelines and programs established under section 203, shall be 
adoptable on a voluntary basis only.
``SEC. 206. <<NOTE: 34 USC 21906.>>  TRAINING AND EDUCATIONAL 
                        PROGRAMS.

    ``The Coordinator shall make available to States, Indian Tribes, 
units of local government, law enforcement agencies, and other concerned 
entities that are involved in initiating, facilitating, or promoting 
Ashanti Alert plans, including broadcasters, first responders, 
dispatchers, public safety communications personnel, and radio station 
personnel--
            ``(1) training and educational programs related to the 
        Ashanti Alert communications network and the capabilities, 
        limitations, and anticipated behaviors of missing adults, which 
        the Coordinator shall update regularly to encourage the use of 
        new tools, technologies, and resources in Ashanti Alert plans; 
        and
            ``(2) informational materials, including brochures, videos, 
        posters, and websites to support and supplement the training and 
        educational programs described in paragraph (1).
``SEC. 207. <<NOTE: 34 USC 21907.>>  AUTHORIZATION OF 
                        APPROPRIATIONS.

    ``There is authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General 
$3,000,000 to carry out the Ashanti Alert communications network as 
authorized under this title for each of fiscal years 2019 through 
2022.''.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5342]]

SEC. 3. EMERGENCY FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE.

    Section 609Y(a) of the Justice Assistance Act of 1984 (34 U.S.C. 
50112(a)) is amended by striking ``September 30, 2021'' and inserting 
``September 30, 2022''.

    Approved December 31, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 5075:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            Sept. 25, considered and passed House.
            Dec. 6, considered and passed Senate, amended.
            Dec. 20, House concurred in Senate amendment.

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