NCAI Calls for Action on Violence Against Women Act Legislation in 113th Congress

Published on Jan 23, 2013

Bipartisan Senate support for S. 47 includes key Republican Senators with tribal constituencies Crapo, Murkowski, and Collins

Re-introduced bipartisan S. 47 bill provides locally-focused solutions to address violence against Native women  

Washington, DC – The National Congress of American Indians is calling for immediate action on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as members of Congress weigh newly introduced legislation in both the Senate and House. NCAI is pointing to the support of key Republicans with tribal constituencies, in both the Senate and House, who are supporting the newly introduced measures or similar measures in the past with key protections for Native American women.

On Tuesday January 22, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S. 47), coauthored by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). The bill, which reauthorizes the landmark VAWA law that first passed more than 20 years ago, strengthens and improves existing programs that assist victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. 

The S. 47 version of the bill ensures important protections for Native women facing domestic and sexual violence on reservations across the country. The bill reflects the bipartisan agreements reached in the 112th Congress on VAWA and is supported by key Republican Senators with tribal constituents including Senator Crapo the coauthor from Idaho and co-sponsors Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME).  Other co-sponsors include Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH),  Bennet (D-CO), Cantwell (D-WA), Casey (D-PA), Coons (D-DE), Durbin (D-IL), Hagan (D-NC), Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-CO), and Whitehouse (D-RI).

“NCAI is encouraged by this bi-partisan step to act on VAWA in the 113th Congress and it is clear there is support across the board for a VAWA that includes the tribal provisions. These narrow provisions are vital to the safety of our Native women and to the Native and non-Native communities where violent offenders are left unchecked if they commit specific crimes of domestic or sexual violence on tribal land. This is a clear sign that members of both sides of the aisle support this legislation and we are urging both the House and Senate to work together,” remarked NCAI President Jefferson Keel.

The House also put forward VAWA legislation on Wednesday, with Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introducing a House companion bill (H.R. 11). In the 112th Congress, the Senate version, which included tribal provisions, passed the Senate. In the final months of the 112th Congress, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the House offered H.R. 6625, known as the Issa/Cole bill, which contained language to address court jurisdiction and tribal judicial parity in prosecuting non-Indian defendants. Congressman Cole also spoke out in favor of the Senate’s previous version of VAWA S.1925. NCAI supported the Issa/Cole language.

After tireless advocacy during the 112th Congress for a comprehensive VAWA, NCAI and members of NCAI’s Violence Against Women Task Force are actively meeting with members of Congress this week to garner additional support for the newly introduced bill. 
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