03.23.18

Senate Passes Daines’ Bills to Strengthen Tribal Security and Education

Bills would expand Amber alert systems on Indian reservations and strengthen educational resources 

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today released the following statement after two of his bills to strengthen tribal security through amber alert systems and increase educational resources for Native American students passed the Senate late last night. Daines’ bill to strengthen Amber alert systems now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Too many young people have gone missing in tribal communities,” said Daines. “This bill will help save lives and prevent future abductions by giving law enforcement the ability to act quickly when a child goes missing.”

The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act expands the AMBER Alert child abduction warning system on Native American reservations. Specifically, the legislation would clarify that Indian tribes are eligible for Department of Justice (DOJ) grants that help assemble AMBER Alert systems for law enforcement agencies.

“Native American students deserve access to the tools necessary for a quality education,” said Daines. “I am committed to continuing the fight for improved educational systems in tribal communities so students can be prepared to live and work in the 21st century economy.” 

The Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act makes sure Native American students who are eligible for federal learning resources, which can help address their unique academic and cultural needs, are not prevented from accessing those critical programs.

Background:

In February 2018, Daines led a bipartisan coalition of his colleagues in introducing a resolution to designate May 5 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. 

On February 16, 2018, Daines’ bipartisan amendment to promote tribes’ access to national criminal databases passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, as did his underlying bill. The amendment, which supports tribes’ access to national crime information, is part of his greater effort to reduce the number of native women and girls who go missing or are murdered. The underlying bill, which Senator Daines cosponsored, will enhance tribal justice and public safety in Indian communities.

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. 

In 2017, Daines introduced and secured U.S. Senate unanimous passage of a resolution to honor the memory of Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who was murdered in July 2013. The resolution seeks to commemorate the lives of all missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered whose cases are documented and undocumented in public records and the media.

 

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