Kansas Senate passes cell phone bill inspired by Kelsey Smith case

TOPEKA | The Kansas Senate unanimously endorsed legislation today that would require cell phone companies to cooperate with police searching for missing persons.

The parents of murdered teenager Kelsey Smith pushed for the legislation after Kelsey's cell phone provider refused for days to hand over information that would have shown where she travelled the day of her death.

As a result, Greg and Missey Smith spent three days searching for their 18-year-old daughter until Verizon Wireless provided the information. After Verizon provided specific information on where her phone had been, police located Smith's body within 45 minutes.

The bill, would require cell-phone companies to give "ping" location information to police if asked. As long as they're on, cell phones emit signals as they travel between cell towers.

Kansas would be the first state in the nation to pass such a law. The House has already passed the legislation. The Senate version was wrapped up into a bill with some other unrelated provisions.

Once the House signs off on those minor changes, the bill is off to the desk of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

"This bill will save lives," said Greg Smith after the Senate vote.

Edwin Hall is serving a life sentence for killing Smith, of Overland Park, in June 2007.