Legislative Update: June 2023
May 5 National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Resolutions and Presidential Proclamation Introduced
U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced S.Res 194, a resolution to designate May 5, 2023, as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls, which passed in the Senate by Voice Vote.
Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-7) also introduced H.Res.353, a resolution to designate May 5, 2023 as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.
President Biden signed a Presidential Proclamation for May 5, 2023 as Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day. The proclamation highlights the need for coordination between jurisdictions, agencies, and borders to address the crisis of violence against Indigenous people.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)
On April 13, 2023, Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA-7), Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), and Young Kim (R-CA-40) reintroduced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2023 (H.R. 2604). FVPSA provides critical funding for shelter and supportive services for victims of domestic violence, including those in Indian Country.
The FVPSA reauthorization bill provides critical support for shelters, coalitions, training, and technical assistance centers, children’s services, emergency response hotlines, and prevention initiatives. The FVPSA is also the only federal grant program solely dedicated to domestic violence shelter and supportive services. It is the primary source of funding for these services for Indian Tribes.
The FVPSA would expand grant programs and make many needed improvements so that more survivors have access to support and safety, including:
- Adjustment of the funding distribution formula to increase the amount that Tribes receive from 10% to 12.5%;
- Dedicated funding for Tribal coalitions to provide culturally-appropriate technical assistance to Tribes;
- Permanent funding for the national Indian domestic violence hotline;
- Permanent funding for the Alaska Native Tribal Resource Center on Domestic Violence to reduce disparities facing Native victims; and
- Permanent funding for the Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety (BADGES) for Native Communities Act
On February 16, Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced the bipartisan BADGES for Native Communities Act (S. 465) in the Senate. On March 1, Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-3), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4), and Sharice Davids (D-KS-3) introduced the BADGES Act in the House (H.R. 1292).
The bill would promote recruitment and retention of federal law enforcement, address inefficiencies in federal missing persons data systems, increase Tribal access to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), and establish a grant program to improve coordination efforts between states, Tribes, and Tribal organizations on cases of missing and murdered persons.
Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence and Stalking Survivors Act of 2023
On February 9, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI-6), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence and Stalking Survivors Act of 2023 (S. 321/H.R. 905).
The bill would close what is known as the “dating loophole” or “boyfriend loophole” by preventing convicted stalkers and former dating partners convicted of domestic violence from purchasing or owning firearms. Current law prohibits spouses, former spouses, those cohabitating together, and those who have a child in common from owning a firearm if there is a protective order against them. The Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence and Stalking Survivors Act would add convicted stalkers and dating partners convicted of domestic violence to this list to close those gaps that embolden abusers and put women in danger.