Legislation to address the issue of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native American people has been approved unanimously by the full Senate. Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, is the principal author of Senate Bill 172, known as Ida’s Law. The measure is named for 29-year-old Ida Beard from El Reno. A citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, she went missing in 2015 and has never been found.
Rosino said there are currently more than 220 missing American Indians in Oklahoma, with about 14 of those from his own Senate District.
“It’s a national problem, and it’s a problem right here in Oklahoma. One of the biggest issues is the lack of solid data, which is exactly what Ida’s Law would help us address,” Rosino said. “We had tremendous momentum for this legislation last session, but it was another of many important bills that the clock ran out on due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m encouraged and grateful for the Senate’s support this session.”
SB172 directs the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to coordinate with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department to obtain federal funding to create a database. The measure would also create the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons under the OSBI. The office would work with tribal, state, and federal authorities on missing persons and homicide cases, provide guidance to victims’ families, facilitate training, promote best practices, and consult with community organizations to promote community relations.
The measure next moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, is the House principal author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Paul Rosino at 405-521-5618 or email Paul.Rosino@oksenate.gov