WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Legislation that would create a national alert system to notify the public about missing or endangered adults passed the Senate Thursday with unanimous support.
The legislation is called the Ashanti Alert Act, in memory of Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old who was abducted in Norfolk in September 2017. She was found dead in North Carolina 11 days later.
At 19, Billie was too old for an Amber Alert, and too young for a Silver Alert; the Ashanti Act aims to protect missing persons between the ages of 18 and 65. Billie's cousin, Connecticut State Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, worked with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) to bring the act to the Senate.
"I’m grateful to the family of Ashanti Billie for sharing her story with me and turning their grief and loss into meaningful action," Blumenthal said.
Virginia led the way on the legislation by passing a law in June that would create a statewide Ashanti Alert system, and Warner has been working to get the bill through Congress after it was blocked from passing in the House.
After being amended and passing the Senate, it heads back to the House for another vote.