Committee Advances Health and Public Safety Bills

Today the Senate Indian Affairs Committee advanced bills, supported by U.S. Senator Murkowski (R-AK), to improve public safety in tribal communities, strengthen resources for victims of crime, and expand access to healthcare in rural communities.  

The Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victims Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, of which Senator Murkowski is a cosponsor, will increase victim assistance resources such as medical care, domestic violence shelters, and counseling through a grant program.

“The justice systems in Alaska Native and American Indian communities receive a disproportionately low amount of support based on the high rates of violent crimes and impact on victims,” said Senator Murkowski. “This bill will improve victim assistance in rural Alaska by increasing funding to invest in initiatives such as rape crisis centers, child abuse programs, violence shelters, and so many other significant resources. We must remain committed to making sure that we are directing resources where they are needed most, to help ensure safety and support for each and every member of the community.”

The Committee also advanced legislation introduced by Senator Murkowski and cosponsored by Senator Sullivan (R-AK) to direct the Secretary of the Health and Human Services to convey certain properties to the Tanana Tribal Council (TCC) and to the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC). Under the bill, TCC and BBAHC would have the ability to expand and construct new healthcare facilities to provide improved health services to residents in the region.  

“The importance of health, and access to care cannot be understated. TCC intends to use the land as a location for a future health clinic, a family wellness, and an after care treatment facility. For a village not accessible by road, these investments will make a significant impact to the health and well-being of Alaskans in the region,” said Senator Murkowski. “BBAHC plans on using the land to build a new free-standing dental facility, which will provide services to nearly 8,000 people in the remote Bristol Bay Region. I thank my colleagues in the Indian Affairs Committee for supporting my legislation to prioritize health for those in rural communities.”

Related Issues: Alaska Natives & Rural Alaska