Sen. Hildenbrand to introduce AMBER Alert fundraising legislation
LANSING—State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand will introduce legislation tomorrow, which would provide a vital fundraising tool for the Michigan AMBER Alert Program.
Senate Bill 1047 creates a voluntary check-off box on state income tax returns that would allow taxpayers to donate funds to the Michigan AMBER Alert Program. These funds would then be deposited in the AMBER Alert Fund which is created in Senate Bill 1046. Once collected, funds would be used to support the important services provided by this program.
The Michigan Amber Alert Program is a partnership between the Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Once notified by the State Police, broadcasters relay notices over television and radio frequencies to aid in the recovery of missing or endangered children.
“This income tax check-off and the generosity of Michigan taxpayers will provide vital funds for this worthy program,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. "The check-off is completely voluntary, and will give taxpayers a convenient way to donate.”
Since its inception in 2001, the Michigan AMBER Alert Program has proven to be an effective tool in the recovery of over 300 children. Although created by a legislative mandate, the program currently does not receive any state aid to defray the costs associated with running it.
“The Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation are very pleased that Sen. Hildenbrand understands the value of the Michigan AMBER Alert Program and that he would sponsor a bill to create a fund for citizens to volunteer to financially support the program,” said Karole White President/CEO of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Director of Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation. “I can’t think of anyone who would not want to help provide for the Michigan AMBER Alert Program. Today it is the child of someone else, but tomorrow it could easily be your child. If that were to happen, any parent or guardian would want an AMBER Alert to be issued and we need these funds to make sure we have the resources to do so.”
Program costs vary each year for the program depending on the number of alerts issued. However, on average the program requires roughly $60,000 a year to function in its current form. This amount does not include donated air-time of broadcasters, the administrative costs of law enforcement, or time donated by staff.
“It is imperative that funding for this program be maintained. As with any technology system it is important that public safety officials continue to be educated on the program, technology be updated to provide the best possible service and money be available for important day-to-day operations,” Hildenbrand said. “By allowing taxpayers the opportunity to donate to the Michigan AMBER Alert Program, they can be a part of ensuring the necessary funds are in place to assist in the safe return of missing and endangered children throughout Michigan.”
More information on the Michigan AMBER Alert program can be found at: http://www.amberalertmichigan.org/.