- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 26, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A bill meant to help missing persons investigations in Montana has stalled.

The measure failed to advance out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday on a 5-5 vote.

The bill, called Hanna’s Act, would have created a missing persons specialist within the state Department of Justice.

It was named for a Native American woman who was reported missing before her body was found on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

The sponsor, Democratic Rep. Rae Peppers of Lame Deer, asked the Senate to reconsider because the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women has devastated families and split communities.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports that Republican Sen. Jennifer Fielder of Thompson Falls says she didn’t believe the problem could be solved with a government position.

The bill earlier passed the House on a 99-0 vote.

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