SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION

No. 112

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MAY 9, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes task force on missing women and girls who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


A Joint Resolution establishing a task force on missing women and girls who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

 

†††† Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† There is established a task force on missing women and girls who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC).

†††† a.†††† The task force shall consist of 15 members, to be appointed as follows:

†††† (1) the Attorney General or the Attorney Generalís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

†††† (2) the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families or the commissionerís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

†††† (3) the Commissioner of the Department of Health or the commissionerís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

†††† (4) the Superintendent of State Police or the superintendentís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

†††† (5) the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice or the directorís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

†††† (6) two members to be appointed by the President of the Senate;

†††† (7) two members to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate;

†††† (8) two members to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly;

†††† (9) two members to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the General Assembly; and

†††† (10) two members to be appointed by the Governor.

†††† Appointed members shall be representative of the communities impacted by this crisis, including individuals who have been directly impacted.

†††† b.††† Any vacancy in the membership of the task force shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.† Any member who shall miss three consecutive meetings of the task force without good cause shall be deemed to have forfeited and vacated membership on the task force.

†††† c.†††† It shall be the duty of the task force to:

†††† (1) develop policy recommendations to ensure first responders are culturally competent regarding the severity and impact of missing and murdered BIPOC women and girls on the communities and families affected;

†††† (2) develop training and education materials for BIPOC communities on methods of prevention and protection and social media protocols relating to missing BIPOC women and girls, and disseminate the materials in high-impact communities within the State;

†††† (3) develop strategies and recommendations for the Office of the Attorney General to collect statistics, demographics, surveys, and oral histories; conduct data analysis; and issue guidelines to ensure de-identified data is publicly available;

†††† (4) identify traffic hubs, highways, and extraction sites that lead to or facilitate the abduction of BIPOC women and girls; and

†††† (5) create a State-wide public awareness campaign.

†††† d.††† The members of the task force shall be appointed within 60 days following the enactment of this section.† The task force shall organize as soon as practicable after the appointment of its members, and shall select a chairperson from among its membership, and a secretary who need not be a member of the task force.† The task force may conduct business without a quorum, but only may vote on recommendations when a quorum is present.† The task force shall meet at the call of its chairperson, and at the times and in the places the chairperson may deem appropriate and necessary to effectuate the task forceís duties, and it may conduct public hearings at such place or places as the chairperson shall designate.

†††† e.†††† The task force shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes, and to employ stenographic and clerical assistance and incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses necessary to perform its duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes.

†††† The task force may use existing studies, surveys, plans, data, and other materials in the possession of any State agency and each agency is hereby authorized to make staff and information available to the task force so that the task force may have current information essential for its purposes.

†††† f.†††† Members of the task force shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses actually incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the task force.

†††† g.††† The task force shall report its findings and recommendations, including legislative proposals, to the Governor and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), no later than 18 months following the organization of the task force.

 

†††† 2.††† This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire on the 60th day after the submission of the task forceís report to the Governor and the Legislature as required by subsection g. of section 1 of this joint resolution.

STATEMENT

 

†††† This joint resolution establishes a task force on missing women and girls who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.†

†††† The Centers for Disease Control has reported that murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women.† Additionally, in a 2020 report by the Womenís Media Center, it was reported there are approximately 64,000-75,000 missing Black women and girls across the United States.† Cases involving BIPOC women and girls often are under-reported, do not receive the required level of attention by the media or law enforcement, and are categorized improperly by law enforcement officials.†

†††† The systemic racism, sexism, and suppression experienced by BIPOC women and girls leads to worse health, wealth, housing, education, and employment outcomes.† Furthermore, there is no comprehensive database regarding missing and murdered BIPOC women and girls.† Creation of the task force on missing BIPOC women and girls will address these inequities.

†††† The task force will be responsible for:

†††† (1) developing policy recommendations to ensure first responders are culturally competent regarding the severity and impact of missing and murdered BIPOC women and girls on the communities and families affected;

†††† (2) developing training and education materials for BIPOC communities on methods of prevention and protection and social media protocols relating to missing BIPOC women and girls, and disseminating the materials in high-impact communities within the State;

†††† (3) developing strategies and recommendations for the Office of the Attorney General to collect statistics, demographics, surveys, and oral histories; conduct data analysis; and issue guidelines to ensure de-identified data is publicly available;

†††† (4) identifying traffic hubs, highways, and resource extraction sites that lead to or facilitate the abduction of BIPOC women and girls; and

†††† (5) creating a State-wide public awareness campaign.

†††† The task force will be comprised of 15 members, as follows:

        the Attorney General or the Attorney Generalís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

        the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families or the commissionerís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

        the Commissioner of the Department of Health or the commissionerís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

        the Superintendent of State Police or the superintendentís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

        the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice or the directorís designee, who shall serve ex officio;

        two members to be appointed by the President of the Senate;

        two members to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate;

        two members to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly;

        two members to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the General Assembly; and

        two members to be appointed by the Governor.