JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee meets at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, to hold a public hearing on changes to Missouri’s Amber Alert law. House Bill 697 is being called “Hailey’s Law”, for a Springfield girl who was abducted and murdered three years ago.
Rep. Curtis Trent, (R) is the sponsor of HB697, meant to cut in half the time it takes to issue a statewide AMBER Alert.
Trent said having parents of both the victim and defendant involved has been helpful. Jim Wood, the father of the man accused of killing Hailey, has been to Jefferson City with Hailey’s parents to lobby for the change.
“I find their story to be particularly compelling because he possibly could have intervened had he gotten the alert in a more timely fashion and prevented a loss of life and also prevented the charges against his own son,” Trent said.
Trent expects both Stacy Barfield and Craig Wood’s parents to be in Tuesday’s committee hearing but according to Jeff Barfield’s Facebook account, he won’t be in attendance.
Jeff Barfield, Hailey’s steptather, is facing federal charges. He was indicted last week, accused of sexual exploitation of minors.
The charges against Barfield left many in shock. He’s been the voice behind Hailey’s Law hoping to save children’s lives in the future. Lawmakers are hopeful these charges won’t keep the crucial law from passing.
“This bill is a memorial to Hailey Owens and about preventing future victims as much as possible. I don’t really think this hangs on the reputation of one man,” said Trent.
“The committee will study the issues some more and hopefully I will get an executive hearing and it will be passed out of committee and sent to the rules committee and ultimately to the floor,” Trent said.
Tuesday’s hearing begins at 8:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5 at the state Capitol.