Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee

HB 2951

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Ordering a study to determine how to increase reporting and investigation of missing Native American women.

Sponsors: Representatives McCabe, Gregerson, Stambaugh, Stanford, Walsh, Reeves, Dye and Barkis.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the Washington State Patrol to study and report to the legislature on ways to increase resources for reporting and identifying missing Native American women.

Hearing Date: 1/30/18

Staff: Sean Flynn (786-7124).


The Washington State Patrol (State Patrol) Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit provides services for reporting and investigating missing persons. Such services include a 24-hour telephone service for reporting missing persons, poster distribution and research assistance to local law enforcement and family members, and coordinating investigative resources with state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.

A recent federal department of justice report found that four out of five Native American women have experienced violence in their lives. The Canadian government recently initiated a national Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to report on the causes and high rates for violence towards indigenous women and girls.

Summary of Bill:

The State Patrol is required to conduct a study to increase state resources for reporting and identifying missing Native American women in the state. The State Patrol and the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs must convene meetings with tribal law enforcement partners in a government-to-government relationship to explore ways of creating partnerships. The State Patrol also must work with the federal Department of Justice to increase information sharing and coordinate resources.

The State Patrol must report to the Legislature by December 1, 2018 on the results of the study. The study must include: data on the number missing Native American women in the state; any barriers to providing more state resources to the issue; and any recommendations, including proposed legislation to address the problem.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on 1/29/18.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.