WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today released the following statement after securing unanimous Senate approval for two Indian bills, Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act of 2019.
“We worked to secure Senate approval for these bills, which will ensure that communities and law enforcement are able to better respond to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans,” said Hoeven. “By increasing protections for missing and murdered native peoples, and refining the coordination between the U.S. Department of Justice and Indian Tribes, these bills will help improve public safety throughout Indian country, including in my home state of North Dakota.”
The two Indian bills that the Senate passed are:
S. 227 – Savanna’s Act
This bill, which Hoeven cosponsored and helped introduce, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a pregnant member of the Spirit Lake Nation, who disappeared on August 19, 2017. Her body was found eight days later in the Red River in North Dakota. Her death led to the introduction of S. 227, which directs the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop law enforcement and justice guidelines, requires training and data collection resulting from the guidelines, and improves tribal access to federal criminal databases.
S. 982 – Not Invisible Act of 2019
S. 982 is aimed at combating the epidemic in Indian country that surrounds the murder, trafficking, and disappearance of Indigenous women. This bill will coordinate prevention efforts between the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and victim service organizations. Additionally, a Joint Advisory Commission will be created to make recommendations in reducing violent crimes against native people.
These bills will now move to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.