Hildenbrand AMBER Alert fundraising legislation bound for governor’s desk

Legislation that would provide a vital fundraising tool for the Michigan AMBER Alert Program is headed to Gov. Snyder for his consideration, said sponsor state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell.

Senate Bills 341 and 342 create 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 under the measure.  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 hassle free way to donate.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Michigan AMBER Alert Program has proven to be an effective tool in the recovery of more than 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.

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 we all know, technology is a constantly changing field and we must ensure that personnel are properly trained,” 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/.