Washington Lawmaker Unveils New Bill To Address Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women

After a 2018 bill signing ceremony in Olympia, women from several local tribes performed a song in honor of the missing and murdered Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada. CREDIT: AUSTIN JENKINS / NW NEWS NETWORK
After a 2018 bill signing ceremony in Olympia, women from several local tribes performed a song in honor of the missing and murdered Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada. CREDIT: AUSTIN JENKINS / NW NEWS NETWORK

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Murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls are the focus of a bill introduced in the Washington House of Representatives on Friday.

Last year, Washington Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, a Republican from Goldendale,sponsored a bill that calls on the Governor’s office and Washington State Patrol to find a way to count every murdered and/or missing Indigenous woman in the state.

A final report isn’t due out until this June, but Mosbrucker says she doesn’t want to wait.

“What we were concerned about was that, one, we would lose awareness on this issue, and two, that there’s more and more women missing all the time and currently missing,” Mosbrucker said.

So, she has introduced a new bill that would add two liaisons to the Washington State Patrol to improve government-tribal relations. Mosbrucker also wants to set up a task force and find a way to streamline how missing persons cases are handled in the state.

Mosbrucker said the bill has an emergency clause that eliminates a 90-day waiting period before the new law could take effect.

The State Patrol and representatives from the Governor’s office have been on a fact-finding mission, hosting meetings statewide in Native communities and in Seattle over the last year.

“The things that are in this legislation are things that we learned on that tour,” Mosbrucker said.

“[We wanted] to make sure we were addressing the concerns of the urban population, which the numbers are cited over 70 percent have moved from the reservations,” Mosbrucker said.

According to a report from the Urban Indian Health Institute, Tacoma and Seattle rank among the top 10 cities nationwide with the highest number of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. As a state, Washington overall ranks third highest in the report.

Copyright 2019 Northwest News Network

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The governor's conference room was full Wednesday, April 24, 2019 as tribal members from throughout Washington watched Gov. Jay Inslee sign Rep. Gina Mosbrucker's House Bill 1713 into law. Courtesy of Washington House Republicans media office

New Washington Law Seeks To Further Address Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women

In what’s being called a significant step for tribal communities, Washington state has a new law seeking to address the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women. House Bill 1713 requires the State Patrol to write best practices for how to investigate those crimes. The new law also creates two state patrol positions to work on cases of missing Native people.
Continue Reading New Washington Law Seeks To Further Address Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women