KTVA: Bills aim to fight violent crimes against Alaska Native women

Two bills co-sponsored by Alaska's Sen. Lisa Murkowski and aimed at helping prosecute crimes against Alaska Native women are headed to the Senate for consideration, according to a release from the senator's office.

Murkowski says the bills — Savanna's Act and Not Invisible Act — address the crisis of missing, murdered and trafficked Native women.

The measures, also sponsored by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, encourage coordination between law enforcement and tribal leaders and attempt to close jurisdictional loopholes that Murkowski says criminals exploit.

The Not Invisible Act also creates a commission to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice on ways to stop crimes against Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

"The statistics are shocking how quickly vulnerable, Native women are being swept into a net of violence that is devastating," Murkowski said Thursday. "They go missing, are trafficked, and some to the point of being murdered. Families have experienced an unspeakable loss and felt let down by a system that has failed and not protected them.”

Cortez Masto called for lawmakers to pass the bills, saying, "Congress has the moral responsibility to act to stop these mothers, sisters, and daughters from becoming another statistic.”

Both bills passed the Senate Indian Affairs Committee with support from Democrats and Republicans.

By:  Jennifer Summers
Source: KTVA