WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), passed the following three bills, as amended, at its business meeting:
· S. 2785, the Tribal Youth and Community Protection Act of 2016;
· S. 2920, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2016; and
· S. 3014, the Tribal Forestry Participation and Protection Act of 2016.
During the business meeting, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the SCIA, highlighted what each piece of legislation intended to accomplish.
“S. 2785, was introduced by Senators Tester and Franken. Senators Udall and Cantwell have joined as co-sponsors. This bill would protect Native children and promote public safety in tribal communities by extending tribal criminal jurisdiction in the same manner under Special Domestic Violence provision in the Violence against Women Reauthorization of 2013. Under S. 2785, violent offenses, and attempted violent offenses, against Indian children as well as violent offenses, and attempted violent offenses, against tribal police and tribal court personnel conducting tribal criminal proceedings would all have expanded criminal prosecution. Additionally, S.2785 would also expand tribal jurisdiction for drug offenses.”
Barrasso also emphasized his bill, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2016, co-sponsored by Senator McCain, and the amendments offered to strengthen the legislation. “S. 2920 is a bill that I introduced, along with Senator McCain. This bill would reauthorize the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The committee held a legislative hearing in May and I have filed amendments to this bill.
“The substitute amendment that I will be offering today is based on feedback from the Departments of Justice and Interior, the Federal Defenders Organization, the National Congress of American Indians, and other tribes. As I stated at that hearing, these provisions are intended to provide enhancements that we can get enacted this year.
“Several of these amendments are intended to improve services to reduce recidivism, prevent additional crimes, and, for current inmates, to assist in preventing them from ultimately ending up in federal prisons. It is troubling that the BIA is not assisted by these other agencies who have the expertise needed by the BIA and tribes.”
Barrasso continued on to discuss S. 3014. “We will now take up S. 3014, the Tribal Forestry Participation and Protection Act. Senator Daines introduced this piece of legislation in May. This bill would increase interagency forest management between the tribes, the Departments of Agriculture, and the Interior Department. The committee held a legislative hearing in June and there are three amendments filed by Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and then my own. The amendment I am offering would clarify and ensure that certain wildfire-suppression activities do not super cede tribal interests.”
Click here to watch the entire business meeting in full.