02.07.19

Daines Demands Accountability for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today cosponsored legislation that would commission a federal study on missing and murdered indigenous people. The bill would help hold federal agencies accountable in their response to missing and murdered indigenous women. 

This bill comes in response to a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Daines secured on Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a missing woman of the Blackfeet Tribe and in concert with Daines’ request for a field hearing on the epidemic in Montana. 

“In dealing with this tragedy of missing and murdered women, we must do better. We must do better for the loved ones of those who go missing or are murdered each year. We must do better for justice,” Daines said. “This legislation would hold federal agencies accountable and would help get the families and communities of these victims the answers they deserve.” 

To download the full text of the bill, click HERE.

Background:

Many incidences of missing persons in Indian country go unreported and even when they are reported, Indian country law enforcement carry a high volume of cold cases that go unresolved. Daines has long been a champion in combatting this epidemic.  

In December, Daines secured a hearing on Ashley Loring HeavyRunner’s case in the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. 

On October 3, 2018 the Senate passed comprehensive opioids legislation which included Sen. Daines’ Mitigating METH Act.

On April 26, 2018, the Senate passed Daines’ bill to designate May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. 

On April 19, 2018, Daines led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in response to a Department of Justice Inspector General report, urging the department of Justice to uphold its responsibilities to Indian tribes and implement the recommendations outlined in that report as quickly as possible.  

On March 23, 2018, Daines’ bill to help relocate children who go missing through AMBER Alert systems became law.   

On February 16, 2018, Daines sponsored and supported the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ passage of the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act, which included Daines’ bipartisan legislation to promote tribes’ access to national criminal databases. 

On January 1, 2018, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation, the Mitigating the Methamphetamine Epidemic and Promoting Tribal Health Act, or the Mitigating METH Act, to combat methamphetamine use across Montana and strengthen Indian tribes’ ability to fight this epidemic.

On December 6, 2017, Daines’ bipartisan legislation, the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. This bill strengthens services for victims of crime in Indian country.  

On May 5, 2017, Daines joined with the family of Hanna Harris to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls as designated by his Senate resolution.

On May 5, 2017, Daines introduced and secured U.S. Senate unanimous passage of a resolution recognizing May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. 

In the Spring of 2017, Daines spoke at the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center briefing. The organization is based out of Billings, Montana. 

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