Senate panel passes bill on missing, slain indigenous women

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A bill that would direct South Dakota state authorities to prepare guidelines for the reporting and investigation of missing and murdered indigenous women is headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse the bill. It would also mandate that the Division of Criminal Investigation establish training programs for law enforcement on conducting investigations into missing and slain Native American women.

Republican Rep. Tamara St. John, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, says the goal of the bill she's co-sponsoring is to put a spotlight on the issue. She says the data is important so that "we really know what we're dealing with nationally."

GOP Sen. Lynne DiSanto, the Senate sponsor, says it's meant to work toward getting consistent and accurate data in a complicated system of jurisdictions.

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