Murkowski Votes to Support Victims of Military Sexual Assault

Senator Pleased with Bill’s Unanimous Passage, Vows to Pursue “Strong Medicine”

Today Senator Murkowski cast her vote in support of S. 1917 – the Victims Protection Act of 2014, introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)and was pleased to support this bill which removes the ability for commanding officers to overturn lower level command decisions on sexual assault crimes and heighten the punishments for offenders.   The bill passed the U.S. Senate 97-0 moments ago.

“The issue of military sexual assault is an incredibly serious one I worry is corroding our armed forces from within.  I was pleased to see a number of legal remedies I supported included in the National Defense Authorization Act last year, and it is heartening to see the Senate support improving military justice through today’s vote.  But much like there are many battles in a larger campaign, this is just one positive step towards the end goal of creating an environment where there are far fewer sexual assaults among the ranks – and that victims feel free to speak up.

“I still support strong medicine like that we saw in Senator Gillibrand’s bill and I will continue to fight for legislation and initiatives that protect victims of sexual assault in the military. I support our military because we fight for those who are vulnerable and at risk; we cannot and should not permit such vulnerabilities to be felt by those who defend our freedoms.”

Last year, Senator Lisa Murkowski threw her support behind S.1752, the Military Justice Improvement Act, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to reform the military justice system by removing a commanding officer’s authority over whether a sexual assault case goes to trial.  Though Senator Murkowski voted to advance that bill with 54 of her Senate colleagues, it failed to gain the sixty votes needed to break a filibuster.