Test Drive Our New Site! We have some improvements in the works that we're excited for you to experience. Click here to try our new, faster, mobile friendly beta site. We will be maintaining our current version of the site thru the end of 2024, so you can switch back as our improvements continue.
Legislation Quick Search
05/20/2024 11:08 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
Home / Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Subscribe to PaLegis Notifications

Subscribe to receive notifications of new Co-Sponsorship Memos circulated

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search

Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 25, 2013 09:40 AM
From: Senator Randy Vulakovich
To: All Senate members
Subject: Kelsey Smith Act

I will soon be introducing legislation - the “Kelsey Smith Act” - to require wireless providers to “ping” a potential victim’s cell phone at the request of law enforcement officials to help locate the missing person when there is sufficient information to believe there is a risk or threat of death or serious physical harm. A “ping” is simply a signal to the cell phone to help determine the general cell tower location it is in.

Since 2005, the FCC has required cell phone manufacturers to include GPS receivers in all devices. This has allowed first-responders to pinpoint the location of 911 callers in an emergency. While Pennsylvania law enforcement officials can request this information from cell phone providers, in most cases a subpoena is required. Obtaining a subpoena can take time and often delays law enforcement response to emergency situations involving risk of death or serious injury. This is especially true when dealing with a missing person believed to be a victim of a crime.

This bill is named after an 18-year old Kansas woman who was abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2007. The tragedy resulted in a movement by her parents to ensure that law enforcement authorities can receive assistance from cell phone providers to help find the missing person. In Kelsey Smith’s case, surveillance video showed there was reason to believe she been abducted; however, because she did not dial 911, her location was not released by her cell phone provider despite pleas from her family and law enforcement officials. After four days, the technology was used to pinpoint the location of her cell phone and her body was found within 45 minutes. Five states including Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and North Dakota have passed similar legislation.

Please join me in cosponsoring the Kelsey Smith Act.

Introduced as SB1290