On Sept. 21, 2020, a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the issue of missing and murdered Native Americans passed the U.S. House. The following is an excerpt from a press release from The United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed Savanna’s Act, legislation he cosponsored that requires reporting on missing and murdered Native Americans. The bill, which is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind from North Dakota who was tragically murdered in 2017, also directs the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to consult with Indian Tribes while developing national law enforcement guidelines.
The bill was introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp last Congress and was reintroduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski in the current Congress. Hoeven advanced the legislation through the Senate Indian Affairs Committee last November and helped secure its passage in the Senate earlier this year. Savanna’s Act will now go to the president to be signed into law.
“Savanna’s Act addresses a tragic issue in Indian Country and helps establish better law enforcement practices to track, solve and prevent these crimes against Native Americans,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate our House colleagues for passing the bill today and sending it on to the president to become law. At the same time, we continue working to advance more legislation like this to strengthen public safety in tribal communities and ensure victims of crime receive support and justice.”
In addition to Hoeven and Murkowski, Savanna’s Act was introduced by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jon Tester (D-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Eighteen more senators were added as co-sponsors since introduction.