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California Moves Forward with Pilot MMIP Program

California lawmakers on April 16 unanimously approved a bill to create a pilot program for three tribal nations that will allow them to investigate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples (MMIP) in their communities.

The bill, introduced by Assembly member and tribal citizen James Ramos earlier this year, sets up a pilot program for Blue Lake Rancheria, Yurok tribe, and Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, that allows tribal police officers in California to become peace officers in the state under certain conditions.

Ramos' bill attempts to fix a decades-old problem created by Public Law 280. In 1953, Congress enacted the law, which transferred public safety responsibility on tribal lands from the federal government to six states-including California-without reimbursing costs. In each of those states, state authority was substituted for federal authority on designated Indian reservations, with few exceptions. On reservations that aren't subject to the law, crimes committed by non-Natives against tribal members are considered federal offenses and tribal police-with training and funding by the US Department of the Interior- are able to carry out arrests and investigations.


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