Murkowski Applauds Executive Order on MMIW Crisis
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today issued the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order to create a task force to help address the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The executive order follows a recent Department of Justice announcement launching a nationwide strategy to respond to the crisis.
“From legislative efforts such as my bills Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act to securing significant funding through my role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve been working hard to elevate the epidemic of missing, trafficked, and murdered Indigenous women and girls on a national level. Between this executive order, the initiatives coming out of the Department of Justice, and my long-standing efforts—turning the tide of this crisis has truly become an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach,” said Senator Murkowski. “I applaud the President for this action, building on Attorney General Barr’s recent announcement, which is a signal of the urgency and importance that has been placed on this issue. Alongside the notable efforts of the administration, I will continue to push enduring policy to bring prevention, awareness, and justice to the many women and girls that have fallen victim to this heartbreaking reality.”
CLICK HERE for details on the White House announcement.
Last Friday, U.S. Attorney General Barr announced the Department of Justice is launching a national strategy to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous persons. The plan places coordinators in multiple U.S. Attorney offices with the goal of developing protocols to improve the ability of law enforcement to address missing person cases, and also invests in training and tools to develop a more comprehensive and effective response process.
Last week, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee advanced legislation led by U.S. Senators Murkowski and Cortez Masto (D-NV) to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Native women. The bills, Savanna’s Act and Not Invisible Act, aim to combat the epidemic by improving the federal government’s response to the crisis. Savanna’s Act increases coordination among all levels of law enforcement, increases data collection and information sharing, and empowers tribal governments with access to law enforcement databases they need in cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, wherever they occur. The Not Invisible Act engages law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and service providers and improves coordination across federal agencies. The bill designates an official to coordinate efforts across agencies and also establishes a commission of tribal and federal stakeholders to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice on best practices to combat the epidemic of disappearances, homicide, violent crime and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Less than a month ago, the Senate passed a funding package which included the Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020 on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Commerce, Justice, Science which provide for the first time, funding to address the crisis of missing, trafficked, and murdered Indigenous women. Specifically, $6.5 million is included for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to take a comprehensive look at the issue across the BIA and Indian Health Service (IHS), which includes funding for cold case work, background checks, equipment needs, training, and a directive for the IHS regarding forensic training. The bill also includes language directing coordination and data collection among Tribal, local, state, and federal law enforcement.