“If someone is missing, the community can go to that person, who can file a report with this central hub,” Small told the committee Wednesday. “One of the problems we have encountered so far is that there is a long period of time between a person missing and when they can file a report.
Several committee members, including Republicans who ultimately voted against the bill, expressed support for the idea during the hearing.
“I think it’s a creative idea. This is the opportunity to try something, ”said Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula.
Small agreed with Sands’ suggestion that the bill be amended to make it a pilot project that would require re-authorization after two years.
But the potential costs turned out to be a sticking point for Republicans on the committee, five of whom voted against moving the bill forward. This motion died with a tie.
“I see no reason the tribes can’t do this already,” said Senator Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls said. “They get loads of money from the federal government.”
The bill’s tax note did not provide any estimate of the costs of the program, but indicated that the general state fund would be responsible for providing a full-time employee to administer the program.