Tester: We Must End the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women Epidemic
Senator Introduces Another Bill to Address Crime Across Indian Country
(U.S. Senate) - After reintroducing the SURVIVE Act last week, U.S. Senator Jon Tester has helped reintroduce Savanna's Act, another landmark piece of legislation to address the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic.
Savanna's Act aims to improve information sharing between tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, standardize response protocols, and better track crimes against Native Americans.
"Ending this epidemic has got to be a team effort," Tester said. "Savanna's Act will improve information sharing between law enforcement agencies and make sure everyone is on the same page as we work to put an end to these crimes."
Tester's bill would require the Department of Justice to improve the collection and reporting of crime data across Indian Country and increase access to federal databases that track crimes against Native Americans. It would also create standard guidelines for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans, laying out a clear framework for cooperation between tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
As a senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Tester has worked hard to raise awareness about the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic, support survivors, and bring their assailants to justice.
After initially introducing Savanna's Act in October 2017, Tester managed to get his legislation unanimously passed through the Senate in December 2018. Unfortunately, the bill was blocked from coming up for a vote in the House by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
Tester also led a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on the epidemic last month, secured a historic $133 million to help tribes assist survivors of violent crimes through the Crime Victims Fund last year, and reintroduced a bill to make that funding permanent last week.