MTPR

Rae Peppers

A sign from a Jan. 9, 2019 missing and murdered Indigenous women vigil in Missoula.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Proponents of a proposed Montana bill meant to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women said Monday they now believe that it has been amended to become toothless.

As originally drafted, Hanna’s Act would have directed the state Department of Justice to hire a missing persons specialist to coordinate with local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement on cases. The idea being to improve response times by smoothing over jurisdictional issues.

A piece of legislation intended to aid the investigation of missing indigenous people stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, but supporters aren’t giving up just yet.

Rep. Rae Peppers, D-Lame Deer, stands at a podium in front of Gov. Steve Bullock and other proponents of Hanna's Act and HB 54 after a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. January 30, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

A bill named for a murdered Northern Cheyenne woman had its first hearing in the Montana Legislature Wednesday morning.

Hanna’s Act, House Bill 21, is one of several in the legislature that draws attention to the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Community members carry signs and photographs of missing and murdered women and girls around UM's oval at the Native-led MMIW Vigil, Saturday, Janury 19, 2019.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

On Saturday, as Women’s Marches happened across the country, about 500 people turned out for an un-affiliated demonstration in Missoula: A vigil for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Proposed Bill Aims To Expedite Missing Persons Reports

Jan 14, 2019
Rep. Rae Peppers (D) - HD41
Montana Legislature

HELENA— The House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would allow any law enforcement officer in the state to file a missing child report as soon as a child is reported missing.

Bryan Lockerby, the administrator of criminal investigation for the Department of Justice, spoke in favor of the bill during the initial hearing on Monday. He said officers commonly get stuck in details of a case, like jurisdiction or whether or not a case is considered civil or criminal. Lockerby also said months have gone by before cases get properly processed.

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