Lawmakers hope third time's the charm for Hailey's Law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A bill that would make it easier for police to issue alerts for child abductions in Missouri will once again be taken up by lawmakers in Jefferson City.

House Bill 185, or "Hailey's Law" is a bill named after 10-year-old Hailey Owens.

Owens was abducted, raped, and killed by her abductor, Craig Wood, in February 2014.

The bill has once again been filed in the Missouri House of Representatives by Springfield Republican, Curtis Trent.

Even though this is the third time this bill has been introduced to the General Assembly, it has yet to reach the finish line.

Hailey's Law would allow police a faster way of issuing an alert for a child abduction.

Instead of going through the slow process of filing paperwork, authorities would be able to directly access the Amber Alert system electronically.

"So, that when an officer decides an Amber Alert needs to be issued, he can do so as rapidly as possible," Trent said.

The law would also integrate the state's Amber Alert System with the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System, known as MULES, and also require Missouri’s Amber Alert System Oversight Committee to meet at least once a year to discuss improvements to the Amber Alert system.

The bill passed the Missouri House in 2017 by a 141-1 vote, but stalled in the Senate.

It again had bipartisan support in 2018 but didn't pass.

Why?

"It has fallen prey to mechanical problems each year in the process, and we simply run out of time at the end of session," Trent said. "There are a limited number of bills that can move through the process, and something gets left on the floor every year, and it's always something that's good."

Senator Eric Burlison, one of Trent's fellow Springfield Republicans, has also filed the same bill in the Senate.

Trent says getting Hailey's Law passed this year is his number one priority.

"Not only is this good public policy that will be very beneficial to the state, that will help protect children in our state, it really creates a legacy for Hailey Owens who was tragically taken from us," Trent said. "I want this as a legacy to her in addition to the good policy."