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Wed Apr 24, 2019, 03:54 AM

Hanna's Act clears final hurdle in Legislature

Source: Great Falls Tribune

Phil Drake, Great Falls Tribune Published 3:58 p.m. MT April 23, 2019

HELENA – A bill known as Hanna’s Act to help efforts to find missing persons survived a legislative roller coaster and passed its third reading Tuesday with a vote of 96-1.

House Bill 21 is headed to the governor’s desk after a harrowing journey through the state Legislature. It’s one of several bills going through the Legislature to help with missing and murdered indigenous women and children.

It's an issue that officials have described as an epidemic, noting there are a disproportionately higher share of Native Americans missing. They said while Native Americans make up about 8 percent of the state's population, 23 of Montana’s 77 missing women, or 30 percent, are Native American.

Hanna’s Act, sponsored by Rep. Rae Peppers, D-Lame Deer, will have a specialist from the Montana Department of Justice help law enforcement and families in the search for missing persons. That person will oversee entries into the database of the national crime information center of the U.S. Department of Justice and other databases to ensure records of missing persons are accurate, complete and made "in a timely fashion."

Read more: https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2019/04/23/lawmakers-pass-hannas-act/3551492002/

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