Ida’s Law Passes House, Heads to Governor
Mike Seals - April 13, 2021 10:56 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill to bring home federal dollars to address missing and murdered indigenous persons passed the House on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 172, or Ida’s Law, authored by Rep. Collin Walke, D-OKC and Sen. Paul Rosino, R-OKC, directs the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with the United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Department of Justice to obtain federal funding to gather data to address the issue of missing and murdered indigenous persons. The legislation also creates the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons under the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
“This legislation is long overdue,” said Walke. “When you hear the stories of families missing their loved ones, and you read the news articles about it happening across the country, it’s obvious there is a problem. This bill allows us to look at past and present data to determine the magnitude, and it also lays a foundation to be better prepared for cases in the future.”
Four out of five native women are affected by violence, and American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average, according to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women.
“As a native woman, I am pleased to see the passage of legislation that will add value back to the lives of indigenous women and people of color,” said House Native American Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-OKC. “This law will ultimately make our state a safer place.”
The journey to get to this legislation has been arduous. Several versions of the legislation have been presented by several different lawmakers. The constant throughout were the individuals who continue to advocate for missing and murdered indigenous persons.
“Ida’s Law is a much-needed piece of legislation that will help our Native American tribes and set the standard for legislation of its kind across the nation,” said House Native American Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City. “Thank you to my fellow legislators and our tribal partners for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the families of missing indigenous women. I would also like to thank the OSBI for partnering on this historic bill.”
Ida’s Law is now eligible to be signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt.