United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), yesterday passed the following two bills at its business meeting:
- S. 227, Savanna’s Act; legislation which was introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp last Congress and reintroduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski this Congress.
- S. 982, the Not Invisible Act of 2019, legislation introduced by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
Senator Hoeven outlined the importance of each bill in his opening remarks:
“S. 227 is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a pregnant member of the Spirit Lake Nation who disappeared on August 19, 2017. Her body was found eight days later in the Red River,” said Hoeven. “Savanna’s tragic death led to Savanna’s Act, legislation I am cosponsoring to improve the response to cases involving missing and murdered Native Americans. The bill directs the Attorney General to develop law enforcement and justice guidelines, requires training and data collection resulting from the guidelines, and improves tribal access to federal criminal databases.”
“S. 982 is aimed at combatting the crisis in Indian country as it relates to the murder, trafficking, and disappearance of Indigenous women,” continued Hoeven. “The Not Invisible Act of 2019 will coordinate prevention efforts between the Secretary of the Interior and organizations. In addition, a Joint Advisory Commission will be created to recommend ways that violent crimes against Native people can be reduced.”
Two amendments, offered by Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Cortez Masto (D-NV), were timely filed to the two bills. The Committee passed the bills, as amended, by a roll call vote of 12 ayes and 1 not present. These bills will now move to the Senator floor for further consideration.