Murkowski Hails House Passage of Senate Violence Against Women Act

Alaska’s Domestic Violence Caregivers Applaud Murkowski’s Dedication

WASHINGTON, DC – Within days of Senator Lisa Murkowski sending a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) urging him to allow a vote on the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill, the House of Representatives today passed the Senate version, 286-138.  Today marks the culmination of a lengthy bipartisan advocacy campaign by Murkowski dating back to the previous session of Congress, and her work has been acknowledged by the AWAIC shelter in Anchorage and the Tlingit Haida Central Council.

The bill reauthorizes the landmark Violence Against Women Act which was enacted nearly two decades ago, strengthens and improves existing programs that assist victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  The measure closely mirrors the bipartisan legislation approved by the Senate last year, and seeks to protect all victims of sexual and domestic violence.

Senator Murkowski added a number of provisions to the bill to reflect key Alaskan priorities:

  • Justice on Reservation Lands:  The VAWA bill grants reservation tribes jurisdiction over criminal domestic violence committed on reservation lands.  Senator Murkowski added an amendment to make sure that Alaska’s only reservation, Metlakatla, is included in this critical provision. (Click here to watch Murkowski discuss this.)
  • Rural Justice Commission: The Rural Justice Commission is an important tool for public safety in rural Alaska, initiated by Senator Ted Stevens in 2004.  With the funding for the program having run out, Senator Murkowski included language to restart the Commission as a permanent forum for discussions among the federal government, the state and the tribes on improvement of public safety in rural Alaska.

(Melissa Emmal , AWAIC – Click here to see her statement.)

“It is so important to have Sen. Murkowski’s support,” said Melissa Emmal of Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis (AWAIC). “Often we get questions about whether or not domestic violence is a partisan issue and truly her leadership shows that it is not.  It shouldn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican or what your partisan beliefs may be- we all want women and children to be safe.  This legislation provides protection.  It’s critical.”

The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization – which Senator Murkowski co-sponsored – passed the Senate two weeks ago with the support of 78 Senators and over 1300 organizations representing domestic and sexual violence groups like the AWAIC shelter in Anchorage.

# # #