FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2023
AUSTIN – SB 2429 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-Fort Worth) unanimously passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee by a vote of 7-0 on Tuesday.
The legislation, developed in coordination with the family of a North Texas teenage trafficking victim and local and state law enforcement agencies, would establish new training requirements and procedures for the immediate investigation of missing child cases.
“No family should face red tape and jurisdiction confusion when they’re desperately searching for a missing child,” said Sen. Hancock. “Every minute counts in these investigations. The legislation we’ve developed with the Morris family and state and local law enforcement will provide clear-cut training and procedures for missing child cases, particularly when there is a high risk of trafficking or abuse.”
SB 2429 requires law enforcement who receive a report of a missing child to begin an investigation immediately, avoiding jurisdiction confusion. It also expands the criteria for designating a child as being at high risk of human trafficking, sexual assault, exploitation, or abuse and removes an arbitrary maximum age that kept certain children from being designated high-risk.
The bill additionally requires law enforcement to properly scale their response for high-risk missing children, immediately notifying all law enforcement agencies within 100 miles when a report is received.
Under SB 2429, law enforcement officers must complete a basic education program on missing children and the associated reporting requirements, with the option of completing a new, advanced training program on missing children provided by Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) and established by the bill.
To follow the progress of the bill, visit Texas Legislature Online.