|The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday adopted an amended House Bill 3188, which establishes a Purple Alert System for public awareness of missing cognitively impaired persons.
The bill concludes the alerts can be “one of the most effective tools in locating missing who has a mental or cognitive disability that is not Alzheimer’s disease or a dementia-related disorder; an intellectual disability or a developmental disability; a brain injury; another physical, mental, or emotional disability that is not related to substance abuse; or a combination of any of these.”
Purple Alerts would operate like Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts, or Blue Alerts. Amber Alerts are issued for the recovery of endangered missing or abducted children.
Silver Alerts notify the public and law enforcement when an adult with cognitive impairment (memory, thinking, and reasoning problems) is missing, meaning the need to harmonize these Alerts with Purple Alerts.
Blue Alerts are issued for the disappearance of law-enforcement officers in the line of duty or for someone who kills or and who “poses a serious threat to the safety of the public.”
The state Department of Military and Public Safety would have until July 1, 2024, to develop legislative rules relating to Purple Alerts.
In other action, Senate Judiciary approved the following bills:
Motorsports Responsibility Act advances
House Bill 2569 establishes the Motorsport Responsibility Act. Senate Judiciary adopted an amendment removing House language that Committee Counsel said is related to a “quasi-claim of action” for participants in motorsports “where the violation … is causally related to the injury, loss, or damage suffered by participants” in these events.
Motorsports activities are defined as “driver training, vehicle storage, competitive racing, non-competitive racing, exhibitions of speed, fairs or shows using motorized vehicles, or other forms of recreation involving the use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles.”
The bill acknowledges “… there are inherent risks in motorsport activities” and itemizes requirements for both motor-sport operators and participants. Senators said motorsport activities significantly contribute to the state’s economy.
Legislation focuses on camera-carrying drones
House Bill 3479 concerns requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
Most HB3470 language is preserved, although the Senate made several technical revisions to the bill.
Senator Laura Wakim Chapman of Ohio County was successful in amending the legislation so its provisions don’t apply to news organizations “using a camera-carrying drone at altitudes greater than 400 feet over private property for legitimate news purposes.”
The previous language referred to “accredited and licensed news organizations,” wording that she said could violate First Amendment rights of “citizen journalists.”
Bill addresses training of probation officers
House Bill 3448 allows the state Supreme Court of Appeals to contract probation-officer field training.
HB3448 grants field-training officers the same powers as a probation officer while performing his or her duties.
Bill changes property-transfer language
Senate Judiciary Committee members had a few questions on Thursday before they passed a strike-and-insert amendment for House Bill 3499, which modifies the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act by allowing transfer on death deeds to specify joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.
Counsel said under existing law, the transfer could be made only with tenancy in common and not with joint right of survivorship. He added that tenants in common are usually split among two or more people while, with joint right of survivorship, all property goes to the other person if that is specified in the transfer on the death deed.
Senator Laura Wakim Chapman of Ohio County asked counsel whether the bill would be retroactive. He said any bill the Legislature passes is considered to be proactive unless it specifically states that it applies retroactively. Senator Chapman proposed an amendment that was adopted to clearly state that it is applied prospectively.