U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines is once again urging the Biden administration to act to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis (MMIW). Daines is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Administration to implement his bills, the “Not Invisible Act of 2019” and “Savanna’s Act,” which help address the crisis.
This comes after Daines successfully pushed the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review on efforts to combat the MMIW crisis and GAO released its findings this week.
“The recent GAO report found the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of the Interior (DOI) have failed to abide by the laws set forth in the ‘Not Invisible Act of 2019’ and ‘Savanna’s Act,’” Daines writes.
“As of June 2021, DOJ had not conducted the outreach required by ‘Savanna’s Act’ in order to enter information regarding missing persons into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS). The deadline for this outreach to occur was April 8, 2021. Additionally, under the ‘Not Invisible Act,’ the Secretary of the Interior alongside the Attorney General was tasked with appointing members to a Joint Commission on Reducing Violence Against Indians by February 7, 2021. According to GAO, as of October 15, 2021, no members were appointed, and a draft plan to accomplish this requirement did not include the milestones for all interim steps,” Daines continued.
Read the full letter HERE.
In October 2021, Daines urged Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to direct the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to hire and transfer more law enforcement personnel to Montana to combat the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis.
In May 2021, Daines introduced and passed a resolution in the U.S. Senate marking May 5th as a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Daines also introduced this resolution in the 116th and 115th Congress.
On September 21, 2020, Daines passed the “Savanna’s Act,” a bipartisan bill that addresses the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic.
On February 7th, 2019, Daines cosponsored legislation that would commission a federal study on missing and murdered indigenous people.
On February 14, 2018, Daines sponsored and supported the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ passage of the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act, which included Daines’ bipartisan legislation to promote tribes’ access to national criminal databases.
On December 6, 2017, Daines’ bipartisan legislation, the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. This bill strengthens services for victims of crime in Indian country.
Contact: Katherine McKeogh, Katie Schoettler