Hoeven Secures Committee Passage of Savanna's Act & Inclusion in VAWA Reauthorizaton

Senator Cosponsored & Advanced Measure as Indian Affairs Committee Chairman, Also Included SURVIVE Act in VAWA Bill

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today helped advance Savanna’s Act, legislation he cosponsored that requires reporting on missing and murdered Native Americans, to the full Senate for consideration. 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. 

Savanna’s Act, along with Hoeven’s SURVIVE Act, was also included in the Senate’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization legislation, which Hoeven helped introduce today with Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Hoeven spoke on the Senate floor to mark the VAWA bill’s introduction, outlining the importance of reauthorizing the law and highlighting provisions to strengthen the tribal criminal justice system and support survivors of violent crime.

“Savanna’s Act is about better empowering tribal law enforcement to address violence against Native Americans and helping to ensure justice for victims,” said Hoeven. “That’s why we’ve worked to again pass this bill through committee and secure its inclusion in the VAWA reauthorization bill, along with my SURVIVE Act and other legislation to provide assistance to victims and improve public safety, both on and off the reservation. I encourage all of my colleagues to help us advance these important measures through the full Senate.”

Savanna’s Act comes as part of Hoeven’s ongoing efforts to improve public safety for Native American communities. To this end, Hoeven is sponsoring:

  • S. 210, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2019, which would reauthorize and strengthen several key programs to improve tribal justice and public safety for Indian communities.
  • S. 211, the SURVIVE Act, which would expand critical victims services by requiring a 5 percent allocation from the Crime Victims Fund be allocated directly to Indian Tribes.

Further, Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure a key provision of his SURVIVE Act in the Senate’s recently-passed appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020. The measure would provide more than $150 million to assist victims of crime on the reservations in the coming fiscal year. Hoeven also worked to include the following additional priorities in the funding legislation:

  • Providing $2.5 million for specialized BIA law enforcement classes in the Great Plains and directing the agency to detail law enforcement needs by region and develop a comprehensive plan to fill vacancies.
  • Helping advance the development of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe’s new detention center. The measure directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to report on how the size of the center will be determined, including the option of a high security adult detention block, and provide a cost estimate.
    • Hoeven worked to secure funding for new BIA detention centers in FY2019 and ensured that the Oyate Tribe’s project was listed as a top priority.
  • Maintaining the COPS Tribal Access Program, which enable Tribes to participate in the existing federal criminal background databases.