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

Juneau residents place hundreds of pairs of children's shoes in front of the state at Mayor Bill Overstreet Park on June 12, 2021 as they mourned for the 215 dead children uncovered at a residential school in Canada. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Community members hold vigil for residential school victims

The appalling legacy of the schools stretches far and deep.

A nesting pair of greater yellowlegs, in a Petersburg muskeg on June 6. (Courtesy Photo/ Becky Knight)
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Sunday, June 13, 2021

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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
‘A lot of work to do’: Officials hope for summer bounce in vaccinations

Zink said just six months ago she didn’t think the state would have as much vaccine stock as it does now.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Friday, June 11

The most recent state and local figures.

A man was found guilty of multiple charges of sexual abuse of a minor by a Juneau jury on June 10, 2021. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Man found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor

It was the first felony trial since the easing of the court’s pandemic measures.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, June 11, 2021

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

Coast Guard Station Ketchikan crew members, Petty Officer 3rd Class Corben Hill (left) and Petty Officer 3rd Class Caleb Hoskins work a tow line for a yacht near Ketchikan, after another Ketchikan crew medevaced the yacht’s captain June 9, 2021. The earlier boat crew worked with paramedics from South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department to transport the 86-year-old yacht captain to EMS on shore, after he experienced stroke symptoms. (Fireman George Haver / USCG)
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The man was experiencing stroke-like symptoms.

Most Read