Assemblyman Ed Flood (R,C-Port Jefferson) hosted a press conference alongside Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R,C-New Suffolk) to advocate for their proposed legislation “Gabby’s Law,” which would implement a “Teal Alert” for missing adults including victims of domestic violence who are believed to be in danger (A.3230/S.2274). Currently, Ashanti’s Alert Act is used nationwide, also known as Amber Alerts for missing children and Silver Alerts for missing seniors and adults with mental health issues, however, New York does not partake in that system, leaving out missing adults between the ages of 18 and 64. The Teal Alert would allow for early alerts to the public of missing adults or those believed to be in danger, providing a greater likelihood of the missing adult being found safe and unharmed.
This proposed legislation was introduced in honor of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, a Long Island native who made national news after she was missing for 19 days while traveling across the country with her boyfriend. Her death was later ruled a homicide and had a Teal Alert system been in place due to her family's concern for her well-being, it could have saved her life. Families, friends and advocates wore teal ribbons on her behalf to represent her bright blue eye color.
The proposed legislation was held for consideration in the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee, meaning it will not reach the Assembly floor for a vote during this legislative session.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Petito family during their period of grieving. As a father of five children, it is unimaginable to think of losing one, which is why this legislation truly hits home for me and many of my colleagues. Had a Teal Alert been enacted and used, there is no guarantee that it would have saved Gabby’s life, but my hope is that it could save others. The fight does not stop here, my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate will continue to push for common-sense legislation and my hope is to honor Gabby in the way she deserves,” said Flood.
“Gabby’s Law would create a Teal Alert system to help vulnerable New Yorkers and those in danger with coordinated law enforcement support, similar to Amber and Silver Alerts for seniors and children. I am pleased this legislation was advanced out to the Senate Codes Committee this year, and I look forward to working with Assemblyman Flood, Sen. Murray and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this legislation signed into law,” said Palumbo.
“Gabby Petito is not the first missing adult and victim of domestic violence, but her case certainly brought it to the forefront of America. Her case highlighted the importance of having law enforcement officials on the same page and on alert early in the process when someone goes missing or is unaccounted for. That's why our state opting into the national alert network with "Gabby's Law" will give those adults in New York who are missing, abducted or in danger between the ages of 18 to 64 a chance of returning home to their loved ones safely,” said Sen. Dean Murray.