Bipartisan pair addressing missing and murdered indigenous women

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bipartisan pair of lawmakers are having success with new legislation to address the large number of missing and murdered Native American women.

It's been a long battle to get attention for the plight of missing and murdered Native American Women.

A study found Seattle ranks first among cities with the highest number of cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Now two state representatives with different backgrounds have joined forces to help change that.

Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, is the first Native American woman elected in the House.

She testified before the Senate State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee

“It's quite emotional, Anna, Sara, Edith, Daisy. Daisy is the name my friend Patsy Whitefoot, of a Native American woman who's been missing since 1987.”

House bill 1713 addresses the problem by creating 2 liaisons between the Washington State Patrol and Native Americans, one for each side of the state. It requires cultural sensitivity training and creates a protocol for timely responses to missing person reports. The cost is roughly $600,000.

Rep. Gina Mossbunker, R-Goldendale has the Yakima reservation in her district and is the lead sponsor.

“This bill is about breaking silence.”

Together they succeeded in getting a unanimous vote in the House.

And they have clearly bonded as they work to get it through the Senate.

“This is a Washington state crisis that we need to heal together and Gina brought that forward,” Lekanoff said.

Mosbrucker added: “It's frustrating when politics gets in the way of good policy, this is really good policy. Our job is the be here, to be a voice, to listen and to help.”

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