WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) today applauded S. 325, a bill to amend the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act to extend the deadline for a report by the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children, and for other purposes, being signed into law by the President. Senator Murkowski introduced the bill in February 2021 with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Jon Tester (D-MT) as co-sponsors to the bill.
“I appreciate the President for recognizing the importance of extending the reporting deadline for the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children. This is a win for Native children and communities across the country,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the critical work by this Commission, so the extension that this legislation provides will be significant, allowing the active engagement of Tribes and giving the Commission adequate time to hold hearings and receive testimony from the public. With this law, the Commission can create a full report that will provide Congress and the Administration adequate information to implement policies that best support Native youth and their communities.”
In 2016, the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act (S. 246), was signed into law. The bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and 25 of their Senate colleagues. This bill established the Commission and charged them to conduct a comprehensive study over Federal, Tribal, state and local programs that serve Native children. Following their study, the Commission must use the results and develop recommendations in a report that will be provided to Congress and the Administration. The Commission was named in memory of the late Dr. Walter Soboleff, a treasured Alaska Native elder and culture bearer and a champion for Native youth. In August 2021, S. 325 passed the U.S. House of Representatives and was sent to the President’s desk.