Capitol Alert: AM Alert: Legislature looks to improve emergency cell phone alerts

12/11/2013 6:11 AM

12/11/2013 6:23 AM

When a noisy late-night text alert about a San Diego abduction went out statewide in August, residents were startled and even annoyed by the interruption. The outcry was swift and widespread, leading Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, to urge Californians not to disable the emergency alerts on their phones.

State officials are now working to increase awareness of the Wireless Emergency Alert System, which is used to send public messages about kidnappings, imminent threats to public safety, and other events. The Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee and the Joint Committee on Emergency Management will hold a hearing today at 10 a.m. in room 437 at the Capitol, led by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

People expected to testify today include representatives of state and local law enforcement and emergency response agencies, with a focus on recommending improvements to the program. Among the witnesses is Holly Crawford, director of the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, which sent out the AMBER Alert that kicked off the public firestorm before 16-year-old Hannah Anderson was rescued in Idaho a week later.

VIDEO: California is working to improve its reputation as a state hostile to business development, Dan Walters says.

INDEPEN-DON'T: Siskiyou and Modoc counties made headlines in September when they voted to secede from California and form a new state with southern Oregon called Jefferson. The news was met with skepticism — and immense disapproval from California voters, as a new Field Poll reveals. Reporter David Siders has the story, which was available to subscribers of the Capitol Alert Insider Edition app last night.

Here are the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert.

FRACK, BABY, FRACK: With the goal of having controversial regulations for hydraulic fracturing finalized by January 1, 2015, the California Department of Conservation is hosting scoping meetings about the legislation's environmental impact report across the state over the next month. Department officials will be in Sacramento today from 4-8 p.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria on I Street.

CORRECTION: Yesterday's AM Alert incorrectly stated that Californians last voted on the issue of marijuana legalization in 2011. Proposition 19 was actually on the ballot in 2010. We apologize for the error.

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