Senate Passes Bill Establishing Missing Persons Clearinghouse

Jan 27, 2020

A bill to create a missing person’s clearinghouse is moving to the House after passing unanimously in the Senate. The bill is the result of legislative action last year calling on the Division of Criminal Investigations and attorney general to collaborate in response to high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Senate Bill 27 establishes the clearinghouse within DCI and requires its use by all law enforcement agencies as a repository for information on missing people. It also mandates the use of a website with info on missing people that’s open to the general public.

The bill passed through the Senate Judiciary committee unanimously and without any opposing testimony. Senator Troy Heinert removed the bill from the consent calendar because he wanted to ensure tribal officers had access to the database and that the bill included provisions for missing Indigenous people.

On the senate floor, Heinert says Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg assuaged his concerns.

“The attorney general showed me or told me that all those provisions from MMIW are there, tribal officers have full access to this database, and I appreciate his efforts and that offices efforts to keep this going forward, I appreciate this body’s efforts in what we did last year and what we’re doing now.”

Senator Heinert hopes that working together can solve the missing persons crisis.

The Senate voted unanimously to send the bill to the House.