PRESS RELEASE from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

Date: May 14, 2007
CONTACT: Ryan Sullivan

Uresti Applauds Governor's Signature of Silver Alert Bill
Creates System Similar to Amber Alert for Missing Seniors Affected by Dementia

AUSTIN, TX -- State Senator Carlos Uresti and State Rep. Joe Pickett have passed Senate Bill 1315, creating a Silver Alert for missing seniors affected by dementia.

Similar to the Amber Alert for missing children, Senate Bill 1315 requires the Department of Public Safety (TDPS) to issue a Silver Alert by contacting designated media outlets, such as television and radio stations, when a senior citizen goes missing. Only the disappearance of an adult age 65 or older with a documented history of dementia would trigger a Silver Alert.

Uresti thanked Governor Perry for signing the bill, stating, "Senate Bill 1315 protects the privacy and rights of senior citizens, while strengthening protections for those disabled by dementia. I have been proud to work with Rep. Pickett to advance this important legislation. The Silver Alert system, like the extremely successful Amber Alert system, will help reunite missing seniors with their loved ones, and strengthen the safety net for some of our most vulnerable citizens."

The Amber Alert Program originated in Texas in 1996, in response to the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman. It requires law enforcement agencies to alert the media following a confirmed child abduction.

Elderly individuals with dementia-related health conditions, such as Alzheimer's or other diseases, sometimes wander away from their residences -- occasionally with tragic results. Senate Bill 1315 was authored to protect such vulnerable seniors by developing a notification system similar to the Amber Alert.

Senate Bill 1315 received support from leading advocacy organizations, including AARP, the Silver Haired Legislature, Alzheimer's Association Capital of Texas Chapter, and the United Way of Texas. For more information, please contact Ryan Sullivan at 512-463-0119.