Missing and Murdered - Legislative Updates
Often, legislation is a keyway survivors and advocates make changes to protect future people from being victimized. The case is the same for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person (MMIP) Epidemic. Current legislation in California seeks to better protect Indigenous people from going missing and or being murdered. This blog will go over some of these current and potential legislations.
Assembly Bill 3099:
Current legislation allows for the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide training and technical assistance to local law enforcement agencies and Native American Tribes. AB 3099 calls for the California DOJ to provide training and guidance to tribes and law enforcement agencies to help reduce confusion surrounding criminal jurisdiction and improve safety on tribal lands. Additionally, the bill funds a study aimed at identifying challenges in the reporting of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) in California. AB 3099 also seeks at establishing the Tribal Assistance Program through the California Department of Justice's Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA). This program will provide guidance and training on PL-280 identify barriers to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons, and provide educational documents geared toward tribal citizens.
California Assembly Bill 273:
Working to build upon previous legislation, AB 273 is a pending bill in the California Assembly proposed by Assemblymember James Ramos. This bill (if enacted) will require notification to Tribes and other key stakeholders if a minor in foster care goes missing. This bill seeks to limit children from foster care becoming a part of the MMIP epidemic.
California Assembly Bill 44:
Assembly Bill 44 is another proposed bill by Assemblymember aimed at addressing the MMIP epidemic in California. This bill seeks at providing greater self-governance by allowing tribal police and tribal leadership access to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS). This system is crucial in providing additional credibility for Tribal Protection Orders with local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, access to CLETS will allow tribal entities to determine criminal histories of those who come on to tribal lands.
Named in honor of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind (a member of the Spirit Lak Nation who was murdered in 2017), this federal legislation aims at coordinating a response to MMIP. Savanna’s act requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to create a task force to ensure that everyone from tribal/federal/and local law enforcement agencies are on the same page in their response. Additionally, the DOJ will be required to have training for law enforcement agencies to streamline their response to MMIP and inform them of the great need for a speedy and thorough response.
Now, these current and proposed bills are not an immediate solve to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person epidemic. However, they are a step in the right direction at addressing the overall causes of the epidemic.