SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 55, legislation to establish an “Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls”, on a 110-19 vote. The bill is authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights).
“When Black women and girls go missing, their cases stay open four times longer than their white peers, said Rep. Richardson. “Families and communities are crying out for resources and supports to establish the Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls because we matter, we are worthy of protection, and because families and communities deserve closure and justice for their loved ones. This office will implement a community-based response to address this crisis and is a blueprint for a national response.”
“We’ve heard heartbreaking stories, and we know the tragic statistics. As a state, we have a responsibility to address the disproportionate rates at which people inflict violence upon Black women and girls compared to their white peers,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “I’m grateful to Representative Richardson and the Missing and Murdered African American Women Task Force for their nation-leading work on this issue.”
In the 2021 session, the legislature established the Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women to examine the causes of violence against African American women and recommend policies to address those causes. The provisions in this bill will ensure the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension operate an alert program and requires issuance of an alert when a person is determined to be missing and endangered.
“Minnesota is now on the cusp of establishing the nation’s first office dedicated to addressing the disproportionate rates of missing and murdered Black women and girls,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “We want to thank Black Minnesotans who have bravely and courageously shared their experiences with us and moved lawmakers to act, knowing that they are reliving the most traumatic days of their lives and are still looking for answers.”
You can watch the presentation and testimony of the bill here.