By: Michelle Simon
The Kansas House Committee on Judiciary recommends House Bill 2646 be passed. HB 2646 would require the attorney general to coordinate training for law enforcement agencies on missing and murdered indigenous people in the state of Kansas.
HB 2646 was introduced into the Kansas legislature on February 12, 2020, by House Representative Ponka-We Victors, a Democrat from Wichita, and was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary the following day.
On February 19, 2020, the Committee on Judiciary, chaired by Republican Representative Fred Patton and composed of 15 other Representatives heard testimony from seven individuals and received a letter of neutral testimony from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
“Our lives are just as important as anybody else’s. We are citizens of this state, and we are citizens of this country,” stated Lawrence resident, Shelley Eagleman-Bointy (Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux) during her testimony on behalf of HB 2646.
Eagleman-Bointy was one of six Native American women who provided compelling testimony in support of HB 2646, along with testimony delivered by Legal and Policy Director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
Still in the early stages, HB 2646 will now go on the calendar under General Orders for consideration in the Committee of the Whole – which consists of all members of the Kansas House of Representatives. If passed, the bill would then go before the Kansas Senate for review. If passed by the Senate, the bill would then go before Governor Kelly for final approval or veto.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt