Kelsey Smith Act falls short in U.S. House

(WIBW) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted down the Kelsey Smith Act in action Monday evening, but the fight to make it law nationwide isn't over.

The bill is named for Kelsey Smith. The 18-year-old Overland Park teen was kidnapped from a store parking lot in 2007. Pings from her cell phone led authorities to her body four days later, when her wireless provider finally released the information.

The Kelsey Smith Act would strengthen law enforcement's ability to quickly access cell phone locations when a person is abducted or their life is in danger.

Monday's vote was 229 to 158, but because of the procedure used, it needed two-thirds majority, or 290 votes, to pass. Opponents cited privacy concerns.

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, who carried the bill, told 13 NEWS he will continue working to get the measure approved.

“It’s clear the Kelsey Smith Act has the support of the majority of the House of Representatives," Yoder said. "While I’m disappointed in (Monday's) outcome, I look forward to the bill being brought back to House floor when a simple majority vote can get it passed."

A simple majority would require 218 yes votes.

Kelsey's father, Kansas state senator Greg Smith told 13 NEWS he is confident the bill will pass this session.

The Kelsey Smith Act was signed into law in Kansas in 2009. It has since been enacted in 22 other states, most recently Indiana in March 2016.