SACRAMENTO –Assemblymembers today approved on a bipartisan 63 to 0 vote a measure to increase collaboration among law enforcement agencies on tribal land and help reduce the number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in California.
AB 3099 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) would create greater sharing of information and heightened cooperation between California’s Department of Justice (DOJ), tribal governments and local law enforcement, including tribal justice systems.
The Ramos proposal would create three new positions within DOJ to provide assistance to tribal police covering reporting statistics, training materials, outreach materials and procedures relating to crime issues on tribal lands and in Native American communities. They would include, but not be limited to, missing persons cases involving Native American women and girls. Finally, the bill would require DOJ to coordinate education and outreach between tribal police and state and local law enforcement agencies.
“The murder rates of Native American women can be ten times the national average on some reservations,” Ramos said. “Many suspects are non-Indian, but confusion over which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction helps perpetrators avoid facing justice.”
Jurisdictional confusion has occurred because of a 1953 federal law, Public Law 280, Ramos adds. It removed federal criminal jurisdiction over most major offenses committed on reservations. Public Law 280 also limited civil jurisdiction in Indian Country to six states, including California. More states were added in later years.
An informational hearing last August by the Assembly Select Committee on Native American Affairs highlighted issues affecting California’s Native American tribes, including the issue of missing and murdered women. The hearing sparked introduction of AB 3099.
The San Manuel Band of Mission of Indians is the bill’s sponsor, and it is supported by the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, Peace Officers Research Association of California, NEXTGEN California and tribes.
AB 3099 will now move to the Senate.
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino.