Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
As a bipartisan group of Senators prepares to introduce a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Leadership of Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Chairman Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Vice Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), has released a discussion draft of the bipartisan Tribal Title. As in the past the Tribal Title is aimed at improving the safety of Native women by including provisions to address gaps in domestic violence and criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country. This includes ensuring that Tribal Nation Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ) over non-Natives extends to crimes against children and Tribal law enforcement, as well as cases of sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking.
VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013 and it expired in 2018. Recognizing the importance of the provisions within the Tribal Title, as well as achieving a bipartisan reauthorization this Congress, USET SPF urges its member Tribal Nations to contact your Senators, especially Republican Senators, to co-sponsor and support passage of the bipartisan VAWA bill. The VAWA reauthorization, including the Tribal Title, is expected to be introduced in the Senate next week and the support of Republican Senators will be critical to its passage. To identify your Senators and receive contact information, please click here. Additionally, calling (202) 224-3121 will connect you with a U.S. Capitol Switchboard operator that would also be able to connect you directly with a Senate office.
While USET SPF ultimately seeks the restoration of full criminal jurisdiction over our lands, the expansion of SDVCJ, jurisdictional clarification, and increased resources in the VAWA Tribal Title represent important advancements toward that goal. USET SPF has consistently supported these provisions and will continue to advocate for a VAWA reauthorization this Congress in which they are included.
For more information, please contact Brian Howard, USET SPF Senior Policy Analyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org.