On March 5 and 6, the State-Tribal Relations Committee continues its studies of barriers to American Indian voting and how to improve communication in Indian Child Welfare Act cases.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on March 5 in Room 137 of the Capitol in Helena. The committee kicks off with a look at the use of plus codes in Utah and Arizona to register voters on the Navajo Nation when a physical address doesn't exist. Plus codes can also be used for 911 response and utility hookups.
On March 6, the STRC will have a panel discussion about decreasing the time frame for the initial hearing in a child abuse and neglect case. Included is an update from Yellowstone County District Court where two judges are piloting an effort to hold initial hearings within 72 hours instead of the current 20 days allowed by statute. Other states around Montana hold their first hearings within 48-96 hours.
Other topics the committee will discuss include:
- updates on implementation of missing persons legislation;
- the Indian Gaming Association's work;
- maintenance of highways within reservation boundaries;
- why some youth run away repeatedly;
- efforts promoting tourism in Indian Country;
- the state's American Indian health strategic plan;
- sweats at the prison in Shelby; and
- adding tribal entities to the Secretary of State's lien filing system.
A full agenda is available on the committee's website. Public comment on all topics is encouraged. Those unable to attend in person may submit written comments to committee staff.
Joining the committee this meeting is Rep. Casey Knudsen (R-Malta), who was appointed by Speaker Greg Hertz to replace Rep. Dale Mortensen after his death.
Other members of the STRC include Representatives Jade Bahr (D-Billings); Alan Doane (R-Bloomfield); Vice Chair Rae Peppers (D-Lame Deer); Joe Read (R-Ronan); and Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D-Crow Agency); as well as Senators Jen Gross (D-Billings); Dan Salomon (R-Ronan); Chair Jason Small (R-Busby); and Frank Smith (D-Poplar).
For more information on the committee’s activities and upcoming meetings, visit the committee’s website or contact Hope Stockwell, committee staff.
Committee Website: www.leg.mt.gov/tribal
Committee Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-444-9280