Tester Introduces Bill to Strengthen Tribal Law Enforcement and Address Missing and Murdered Native Women Crisis
Senator’s “Savanna’s Act” Will Improve Information Sharing, Data Collection, and Response Protocols
(Missoula, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is introducing legislation to address the growing epidemic of missing and murdered Native American women.
Tester’s bill, Savanna’s Act, will improve information sharing between tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, increase data collection on missing Native American women, and improve response protocols.
“It is critical that law enforcement officers have the resources they need to combat human trafficking and increase safety for Native American women and girls,” Tester said. “This legislation makes important improvements that will strengthen public safety in Indian Country and provide tribes with the tools they need to address the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.”
Savanna’s Act is named in honor of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was murdered in North Dakota in August.
Tester’s bill will require the U.S. Justice Department to better report crime information in Indian Country and update federal crime databases to track crimes against Native Americans. The bill will also require multiple federal agencies to solicit recommendations from tribes on how to improve access to criminal justice information systems in accordance to the Violence Against Women Act.
Tester’s bill will also create a standard protocol for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans, which includes jurisdictional cooperation between tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
Tester is also sponsoring legislation to set aside five percent of the Crime Victims Fund specifically for tribes to prosecute criminals and assist survivors of violent crimes, and he called on top Administration officials last month to provide survivors of violent crimes in Indian Country with more support services.