SALT LAKE CITY — This week, Navajo Nation First Lady Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren and members of the 25th Navajo Nation Council provided public comment in support of H.B. 25, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Task Force Sunset Extension, at the Utah State Legislature.
The bill proposes changing the name of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Task Force in Utah to the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Relatives Task Force and extends the repeal date for the task force from November 30 to November 30, 2024.
“What we found on Navajo is that over 70 percent of people who go missing are men,” said First Lady Blackwater-Nygren. “It’s extremely important that we broaden the scope of the study committee.”
It also extends the deadline for the task force to provide its report back to certain committees in the legislature. The additional time reflects difficulties encountered in the task force’s main objectives caused by the closures from government shutdowns relating to the pandemic, First Lady Blackwater-Nygren said.
Sponsor Representative Angela Romero was present during the meeting to answer questions to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Additional support for the bill is being provided by Senator David Hinkins.
Speaker Crystalyne Curley added: “We hope to move closer to minimize the number of unsolved MMIWR cases within the state so we can begin to heal our native families and communities.” Council delegates Germaine Simonson and Curtis Yanito also spoke in favor.
The committee voted to provide its unanimous recommendation for the bill with a vote of six in favor and none opposed on Tuesday.