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Comments sought related to missing persons

June 12, 2018

Dear Tribal Leaders,

The Montana Legislature’s State-Tribal Relations Committee will meet by phone on the morning of July 6 to review several pieces of proposed legislation. Members of the public may attend the meeting in Room 102 of the Capitol Building in Helena. If you would like to provide written comments, please email them to me at hstockwell@mt.gov by July 5, or mail them to Legislative Services Division, Attn: Hope Stockwell, PO Box 201704, Helena, MT 59620. These comments will be discussed at the July 6 meeting, but no final decisions on whether to move the proposals forward to the 2019 Legislature will be made until the committee’s September 7 meeting in Helena.

The proposals include five pieces of legislation related to missing persons. These grew out of recommendations from the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) related to gaps the agency sees in existing state laws/programs related to missing persons.

  • LCdoj1 would clarify that DOJ may assist with all missing persons cases, not just those involving children, and would appropriate funds to hire a missing persons specialist at DOJ.
  • LCdoj2 would require all law enforcement authorities in the state to accept, without delay, any report of a missing person unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • LCdoj3 would ask the 2019 Legislature to designate an appropriate interim committee to study the reasons why youth repeatedly run away and the services or interventions that could be used to help break the cycle.
  • LCdoj4 would require a missing persons report to be filed in a custodial interference case if the whereabouts of the involved child is unknown.
  • LCFOTO would require the Office of Public Instruction to establish a repository for school photos of children whose parents give permission for the photo to be held and shared with law enforcement if the child goes missing. (This proposal is not yet electronically available.)

 

Two proposals are related to the STRC’s study of increasing access to reentry resources for American Indian offenders.

  • LCsj31 would establish a reentry cultural programming grant for programs that serve American Indian offenders with multifaceted, traditional practices to provide recovery support, recidivism prevention, and community resource referrals.
  • LCsj32 would set aside a specific percentage of supportive housing grants for programs that serve American Indian offenders.

 

On July 6, the STRC will also consider proposals to extend or repeal the termination dates for the Montana Indian Language Preservation Program and the Cultural Integrity and Commitment Act (which supports Indian language immersion programs at public schools). Both programs are set to expire on June 30, 2019. (These proposals are not yet available electronically.)

All materials for the July 6 meeting will be publicly available on the STRC website approximately 2 weeks in advance of the July 6 meeting.

As a reminder, the STRC is also seeking your comments on House Bill 562 from the 2015 legislative session. The STRC will decide at its September 7 meeting in Helena whether to re-propose HB 562 in the 2019 session. HB 562 would require designated state agencies to submit reports to the governor’s budget office related to financial assistance provided to tribal entities.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Regards,

Hope

 

Hope Stockwell

Research Analyst

Montana Legislative Services Division

406-444-9280

hstockwell@mt.gov

Last modified: June 12, 2018