Senate Approves Domestic Violence Bill

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office
Cell 202-200-0625 


Senate Approves Domestic Violence Bill

Tribal Provisions Remain Intact

WASHINGTON—The Senate today passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in a broad, bipartisan vote of 78-22. The bill reauthorizes the Act for the next five years.

The bill keeps language intact that provides added protections to Native American women from domestic violence crimes on tribal lands, and would allow tribes to prosecute non-Indians in narrow circumstances where they commit acts of domestic violence against Indians or violate domestic violence related protection orders. Defendants would need to have ties to the tribe, and prosecuting tribal courts would have to guarantee certain rights for defendants.

Voting in favor of S 47, were the following members from the Navajo Nation congressional delegation: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. Voting no on the bill included Republican Sens. Orin Hatch and Mike Lee from Utah.

The Senate adopted an amendment to the bill, S-47, by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., that would extend through 2017 the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The amendment would expand law enforcement grants for prosecuting trafficking crimes and criminalize confiscating passports or other immigration documents.

On Monday, the Senate rejected an amendment introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., stripping the tribal provisions, which give tribes more authority over non-Indian domestic violence offenders. The Senate rejected a similar proposal last week introduced by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

Tribal provisions will remain a contentious issue as House lawmakers introduce their own version of the domestic violence bill.



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