Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks after an order withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetland was signed at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (Cliff Owen | Associated Press File)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks after an order withdrawing federal protections for countless waterways and wetland was signed at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (Cliff Owen | Associated Press File)

Murkowski to revive bill meant to help Native American women

The legislation received unanimous Senate approval, but was blocked in the House

FARGO, N.D. — Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowksi said she plans to reintroduce a bill intended to help solve crimes against Native Americans that received unanimous Senate approval but was blocked by the outgoing chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte said he agrees with the intent of North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s bill, which would expand tribal access to federal crime databases, set standards for law enforcement’s response to cases of missing or slain Native Americans and instruct the Justice Department to increase its data collection on crimes against Native Americans. But he said it hurts some agencies that have no link to tribal communities and therefore couldn’t compete for Justice Department grants the bill would create if it became law, The Roanoke Times reported.

[Sitka woman testifies in DC about missing, murdered Alaska Native women]

Goodlatte, who is retiring after 13 terms in office, said only a limited number of law enforcement organizations are eligible for those funds “so every other law enforcement organization in America is opposed to it, and the Fraternal Order of Police and groups like that because they’re getting a cut in order to do that.”

With the House adjourned until further notice, it appears that the measure known as Savanna’s Act will expire at the end of the year. Murkowski, of Alaska, has said she will take up the measure when lawmakers return to Washington.

“It’s disappointing that one Republican member of Congress blocked Savanna’s Act from passing this year,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “But fortunately, Rep. Goodlatte won’t be around to block it in the new Congress. I’ve talked with Sen. Murkowski about Savanna’s Act and I’m so proud that she will reintroduce my bill in the new year.”

[Alaska Native tribes allege human rights violation over Canadian mine pollution]

The bill is named for Savanna Greywind, a slain North Dakota woman whose baby was cut from her womb.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents the Greywind family, told The Associated Press on Friday that the bill asks for “a minimal level of accountability” and the notion that it is too onerous for law enforcement is “absurd.”

“If that’s the case then this bill should be introduced as is and let them come and testify before Congress about why they don’t want an incentive for providing the appropriate data that is needed and that this bill requires,” Allred said. “Let’s see who they are. If there are any they shouldn’t be hiding behind some elected official.”


• This is an Associated Press report.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 14

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This October 2020 photo shows the MV Kennicott. The Alaska Marine Highway System's winter ferry schedule is now available for review. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Winter ferry schedule available for review

Comments now being accepted.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

Most Read