By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Proposed law would speed up Amber Alert process

A new bill is underway to help speed up the Amber Alert process for children in the center of active custody battles who are abducted by their noncustodial parent. 

Last fall, 3-year-old Noah Clare was taken by his father and crossed multiple state lines eventually ending up in California. This abduction led to a nationwide Amber Alert, but it took officials 11 days to issue the alert because he didn’t fit the federal criteria. Noah was eventually returned to Tennessee safely.

Tennessee House Bill 2354, also being called Noah’s Law, would allow the custodial parent to file a motion with the court seeking an emergency order to declare the child to be in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death and orders the noncustodial parent to return the child after reporting the child missing to a law enforcement agency or the TBI. 

The custodial parent in this situation refers to the parent the child resides with more than 50% of the time.

The bill authorizes a court to issue the order based on the court making five findings: 

the custodial and noncustodial parent are parties in a custody, parentage, support, or dependency and neglect matter currently pending before the court; 

the noncustodial parent failed to return the child to the custodial parent on the date and time specified in the current plan; 

the custodial parent has reported the child missing to a law enforcement agency or TBI; 

at least 48 hours have passed since the noncustodial parent was to have returned the child; 

the noncustodial parent has failed to contact custodial parent, return the child. 

This bill is sponsored by Rep. Johnnie Garrett and he says this does not change the previous criteria of the Amber Alert. He said that as a 3-year-old, Noah Clare did not have a voice and was unable to tell others he was in danger. He hopes this bill will get an Amber Alert out sooner and get the children back home safely in similar future situations.

Noah’s Law will have to pass the full floor in the House and Senate before Gov. Bill Lee can sign it into law.