HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock signed “Hanna’s Act” Friday, a law aimed at addressing what some have called an epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous persons.
House Bill 21 authorizes the Montana Department of Justice to assist with the investigation of all missing person’s cases and requires the agency to hire a missing persons specialist.
The specialist will be responsible for managing the State Missing Person Database and working with state, local, federal and tribal officials on those cases.
The bill is named in honor of Hanna Harris, a Lame Deer woman found murdered on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in 2013.
A companion bill, Senate Bill 312, which creates a missing Indigenous person task force and grant money to create a network for tribes to identify, report, and find Native American persons who are missing has been transmitted to the governor but has not yet been signed.