Senate committee moves missing and murdered natives bill forward


November 19, 2018

WASHINGTON – The reporting, investigating and addressing missing and murdered Native Americans could start seeing improvement if Senate Bill 1942, named “Savanna’s Act,” becomes law. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed the bill at its Nov. 14 hearing. “The committee took action to improve tribal access to crime information databases and federal reporting of missing and murdered Native Americans,” Chairman Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said. “This legislation is intended to lead to better data collection and information reported to Congress on a tragic problem that affects many tribal communities across the country.”

The purpose of the bill, introduced by committee member Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is to clarify federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement’s responsibilities. It also proposes to increase coordination between those agencies, empower tribal governments to respond to cases of missing and murdered natives and to increase data collection related to missing and murdered Native American women. It calls upon improving tribal access to federal databases for enrollment information, consultation, reporting, removing barriers tribes face and implementing plans to improve addressing these cases. It also standardizes protocols and requires annual reporting.


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