Senate backs reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

The Senate voted 61-31 on Thursday to pass S.1925, a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

The bill recognizes tribal authority over non-Indians who commit domestic violence offenses. The provision has been controversial among Republicans.

“It was encouraging to see our leaders in the Senate put aside partisan politics and pass a bill that protects and serves all victims of domestic and sexual violence across the country—including our Native sisters, mothers, and daughters," Jefferson Keel, the president of the National Congress of American Indians said in a press release. "Today’s vote on the VAWA reauthorization represents a historic vote for Native people and tribal sovereignty.

The bill, however, excludes Alaska tribes from the same provision. But Alaska tribes will still have authority over civil protection orders under an amendment that approved yesterday.

Attention now turns to the Republican-led House, where a different version of the bill -- without any of the tribal provisions -- will be considered.

Get the Story:
VAWA Passes Senate With Major Tribal Court Provisions; Status Quo for Alaska Natives (Indian Country Today 4/26)
Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill passed by Senate (The Washington Post 4/26)
Amendment lets Alaska tribes keep restraining-order powers (The Anchorage Daily News 4/27)
Senate Votes to Reauthorize Domestic Violence Act (The New York Times 4/27)

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