United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today announced that the Committee has approved two pieces of legislation he sponsored to improve public safety in Indian Country. The bills will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
“As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, I’m committed to improving public safety in our tribal communities,” Hoeven said. “The SURVIVE Act will ensure that tribes receive critical funding from the Crime Victims Fund to help communities deal with crime and to assist tribal victims in recovering. We also approved the Tribal Law and Order bill, which reauthorizes several critical public safety programs and promotes more coordination and cooperation between federal agencies and tribes.”
Hoeven introduced both the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act and the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments (TLOA) Act.
SURVIVE Act (S. 211)
The Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act increases resources for tribal victim assistance by requiring a 5 percent allocation from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) be provided to Indian tribes through a grant program. Despite high rates of victimization, in the past Indian tribes have received less than 1 percent of CVF resources. The CVF, which is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, provided up to $4.4 billion to victims in Fiscal Year 2018.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked to secure funding from the CVF for tribal communities. For example, in Fiscal Year 2018, the senator secured a 3 percent allocation for Indian tribes that amounted to nearly $132 million per year for tribal victim assistance.
TLOA Act (S. 210)
The Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments (TLOA) Act of 2017 reauthorizes and extends critical programs under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. Specifically, the bill:
- Establishes accountability, oversight and coordination authority within the Department of Justice’s Office of the Deputy Attorney General.
- Improves Department of Justice data collection on Native American victims of human trafficking.
- Extends the Bureau of Prisons pilot program, which allows tribally convicted defendants of violent crimes to be housed in federal facilities, for another 9 years.
- Makes permanent the Shadow Wolves program within the Department of Homeland Security.
- Requires reporting for grants or pilot programs under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and other grants through the Department of Justice on matters related to Indian tribes and Indian victims.
- Improves justice for Indian youth by requiring the Interior Secretary, Attorney General, and Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to coordinate and assist tribes in addressing juvenile offenses.
- Reauthorizes funding for several tribal justice grants, including those under Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Indian Tribal Justice Technical and Legal Assistance Act of 2000, Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1968, and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.
What Committee Members Are Saying:
“Right now we have a crisis in Indian Country battling a tragic epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people. We’re also seeing meth continuing to destroy tribal families and communities across Montana and the nation. These two bills provide important tools to tribes and law enforcement agencies that will help prevent crimes, protect victims, and keep communities in Indian Country safe.” – Senator Daines, cosponsor of the SURVIVE Act
“The justice systems in Alaska Native and American Indian communities receive a disproportionately low amount of support based on the high rates of violent crimes and impacts on victims. This bill will improve victim assistance in rural Alaska by increasing funding to invest in initiatives such as rape crisis centers, child abuse programs, violence shelters, and so many other significant resources. We must remain committed to making sure that we are directing resources where they are needed most, to help ensure safety and support for each and every member of the community.” – Senator Murkowski, cosponsor of the SURVIVE Act
“For too long, critical public safety resources have dried up before making it to Indian Country. These bills will give Native American communities the resources they need to crack down on crime and help survivors heal.” – Senator Tester, cosponsor of the SURVIVE Act
“American Indian and Alaska Native communities face some of the highest crime victimization rates in the country, yet they continue to lack adequate access to funding from the Crime Victims Fund. This legislation will help the federal government live up to its important trust relationship with tribal communities and ensures Native American victims of crime are receiving the support and federal assistance they need to heal and thrive.” – Senator Cortez Masto, cosponsor of the SURVIVE Act
“Native people are disproportionally victims of violent crimes, and we need to take steps to help these survivors heal and make sure tribes have the resources to help their communities. This bipartisan bill passed an important step today, and I will continue fighting for justice on behalf of tribes in Minnesota and across the nation.” – Senator Smith, cosponsor of the SURVIVE Act