Hoeven: Senate Passes Savanna's Act to Help Address Cases of Missing and Murdered Native Americans

Senator Cosponsored & Helped Advance Legislation as Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today issued the following statement after helping secure U.S. Senate passage ofSavanna’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.

“Savanna’s Act is about empowering law enforcement to better respond to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans to prevent similar tragedies and bring offenders to justice,” said Hoeven. “This is part of our broader efforts to improve public safety and victim services for tribal members, both on and off the reservation. We welcome Senate passage of Savanna’s Act and will continue our efforts to advance the measure into law.”

Savanna’s Act was previously approved by the Indian Affairs Committee in November and is part of Senator Hoeven’s efforts to improve law enforcement in tribal communities. In addition, the senator is working to pass:

  • 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.
    • As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured a key provision of his SURVIVE Act in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill by securing more than $150 million to assist victims of crime on the reservations. He has done this since FY2018.

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). Seventeen more senators were added as co-sponsors since introduction.