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July 22, 2004

Message from the Governor

Time is the enemy of an abducted child. A recent study by the Washington State Office of the Attorney General found that 74 percent of abducted children who are murdered, are killed within three hours of the abduction.

Gov. Martz, Gov. Locke, Gov. Henry and Gov. Barbour launch the AMBER alert web portal.

Earlier this week I joined with several governors from around the nation to launch a multi-state AMBER Alert System that will help rescue abducted children.

Law enforcement officials need an efficient, fail-safe way to swiftly distribute information about child abductions. It is vital to get information to other law enforcement agencies, broadcast media, the public, other states, enhanced 9-1-1 call centers, electronic highway billboards and border agencies. Field technicians and maintenance crews at telephone companies and utilities, transit authorities, casinos and lottery commissions can also be important resources in helping save the lives of abducted children.

Quote of the Week
“Speed is a key factor in child safety. This system ensures reliability and efficiency in notifying all key resources that an AMBER Alert has been issued.”
—Governor Locke, July 19, 2004

The AMBER Alert 911 Web Portal is a critical tool for law enforcement to swiftly distribute information about abducted children and the suspected perpetrators to all stakeholders. Implementing this portal can be done at no cost to government.

The portal enables law enforcement to put information about abducted children and the kidnappers into the hands of literally thousands of people simultaneously. This enables them to become the eyes and ears of law enforcement on every street corner.

The portal has been adopted by 11 states including Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington. The system is live in Washington, and is scheduled for implementation soon in these other states. Since we announced the portal on July 19 at the National Governors Association annual meeting in Seattle, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and New York have also indicated an interest in adopting the portal.

Imagine—once law enforcement issues an AMBER Alert, literally thousands of people will instantaneously receive the alert via cell phones, pagers, PDAs or email. Time is the enemy of abducted children, and every minute counts. With this powerful new tool, we can all receive the AMBER Alert at the same time, and work together with law enforcement to save the life of an abducted child.

To sign up to receive messages about AMBER alerts, please visit Your participation could be key to saving the life of an abducted child.

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

Governor’s Priorities
News Highlights

Security a Success During Governors Conference
Governor Locke thanked law enforcement partners including the Washington State Patrol and the Seattle Police Department for their security efforts during the National Governors Association Annual Meeting that was held in Seattle, July 17-19. Thirty-one governors and approximately 1,100 meeting participants attended the annual meeting. Three rallies were planned for Saturday and there were no reports of incidents or arrests. “I am proud of the Washington State Patrol, the Seattle Police Department and other law enforcement partners that came from all parts of our state, to provide a safe environment for our nation's governors. We were able to stay focused on our business agenda for the meeting,” the Governor said. “It allowed Washington to shine in the national spotlight and left everyone with a positive impression of our state.”

Reaching Agreement on Cigarette Tax
Governor Locke signed a cigarette taxation agreement with the Yakama Nation on July 20. This is the 12th such agreement to be reached with tribes since talks began in 2001. “This agreement ends decades of conflict over this issue,” the Governor said. “This is an excellent example of how both the state and tribes benefit from government-to-government interaction.” Under the agreement, the Yakama Nation will impose a tax on purchases from non-Indians equal to the combined state cigarette and sales tax. The revenue from this tax will be dedicated to supporting the tribe's essential government services. In exchange, the state will not impose its tax on cigarette purchases by non-Indians from smokeshops located on the reservation. The agreement is intended to remedy a situation where the state lost tax revenues when non-Indians purchased cigarettes from smokeshops located on Indian reservations without paying the state tax.

Honoring a Special Eagle Scout
Gov. Locke at Sam Roe's Eagle Scout ceremony. Governor Locke presented Sam Roe, a young man from Everett who has cerebral palsy, with his Eagle Scout honors in a ceremony aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln at Naval Station Everett on July 22. “Sam, you are a shining, sterling example to us all,” the Governor said. “Your courage, perseverance and incomparable optimism are inspiring to us. We look up to you in awe and admiration.” Roe completed all of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, without any accommodations for his illness. It was a request of Roe's to have Locke, an Eagle Scout, participate in the ceremony. “The road to becoming an Eagle is long and hard, and Sam has faced additional obstacles,” the Governor said. “Congratulations Sam, and good luck as you pursue your next dream. You are proof that a spirited heart, determined mind and courageous soul can accomplish anything.”

Success Story: Efficiency in the Basic Food Program
Washington state has achieved its lowest ever error rate in Basic Food payments, formerly known as food stamps. This also marks the fifth consecutive year that Washington's error rate is lower than the national average. The Basic Food program helps an average 400,000 low-income Washington residents each month obtain a more nutritious diet by supplementing their income. During fiscal year 2003, $380 million worth of Basic Food benefits were used to purchase groceries at local businesses across the state. The federal government fully funds the state's Basic Food benefits and pays for about half of the state's administrative costs to run the program.

Success Story: Retirement Systems Winning Streak Continues
For the tenth year in a row, the Department of Retirement Systems' Comprehensive Annual Financial Report has selected to receive the Government Finance Officers Association's (GFOA) award for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The GFOA award is the highest form of recognition for public employee retirement system accounting and financial reporting. The department also recently received its eighth consecutive clean audit from the state auditor.

Upcoming Events
7/23: Narrows Bridge Construction Project Visit, Tacoma
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