Ida's Law has passed the Oklahoma Legislature
Last week we ramped up our floor hearings of Senate bills and passed quite a few to the governor’s desk. Additionally, I had some important meetings in my role as Co-Chair of the House Native American Caucus.
We passed Senate Bill 172, or Ida’s Law, on Tuesday, April 13. This important piece of legislation, which I co-sponsored, 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.
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.
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. I’m thankful 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.
Additionally, I presented House Concurrent Resolution 1003, endorsing and supporting the extension of Amtrak service between Oklahoma City and Newton, Kansas, and urging support for the inclusion of federal funding for development of the Heartland Flyer Extension. This HCR also urges support for the inclusion of federal funding for the maintenance and development of the Southwest Chief and supports approval of certain multistate partnerships.
Amtrak has prioritized connecting Oklahoma City to the Chicago and East/West routes in Newton as a federal essential passenger rail route, and this HCR demonstrates Oklahoma’s full support. All House members signed on as co-authors.
The Native American Caucus met with representatives from Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU), as well. The school, located in Lawrence, Kansas, is the premiere tribal university in the United States, offering quality education to Native American students. Members of any federally recognized tribe may attend college here for free, and attending Haskell is an excellent opportunity for many of our citizens to realize the dreams they have for the future.
That’s it for this installment. If I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at 405-557-7355 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.