Senate Republicans Unveil Violence Against Women Act That Hurts Tribes

  
Via:  1stwarrior  •  3 weeks ago  •  24 comments

Senate Republicans Unveil Violence Against Women Act That Hurts Tribes
It rolls back crucial protections for Native women. It also strips out LGBTQ protections and a gun safety provision.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



WASHINGTON ― After months of delays, Senate Republicans finally unveiled their bill to renew the Violence Against Women Act, a vital 1994 law that lapsed this past February.



It’s landing with a thud.


Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the bill’s sponsor and a survivor of domestic violence herself, introduced the bill late on Wednesday. She touted provisions that would “holistically” address female genital mutilation, bolster housing protections for survivors of violence and empower targets of revenge porn. You can read her bill here .



“Reauthorizing VAWA shouldn’t be a partisan issue ― we should be putting the wellbeing of women and children of sexual and domestic violence first,” Ernst said in a statement . “That’s what this bill does; it’s a practical solution that focuses on survivors, not politics.”



But her bill is already facing criticism for what’s not in it. For starters, it strips out  a key gun safety provision that was included in the VAWA bill that passed the House in April.



Under current federal law, people convicted of domestic violence offenses against spouses or family members can lose their gun rights. The House VAWA bill, which passed with bipartisan support , would add people convicted of abusing their dating partners to that category, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” It would also prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses, as well as abusers subject to temporary protective orders, from owning or buying firearms.



The National Rifle Association has been  pressuring Republicans  to oppose the gun safety provision and warned that a vote in favor of it would negatively affect lawmakers’ NRA rating. The gun language is nowhere to be seen in Ernst’s bill.



“Months ago, the House passed a bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act with strong protections for survivors who are threatened by armed domestic abusers. Yet the Senate majority’s only response, after all this time, is a bill that maintains easy access to firearms for individuals with a record of threatening behavior and criminal convictions,” said Robin Lloyd of Giffords, a nonprofit focused on gun violence. “It’s unbelievable and unacceptable that we’re in this place today where some of our elected leaders care more about protecting domestic abusers than they do victims.”



Ernst’s bill also leaves out a House provision explicitly stating that VAWA grant recipients would be allowed to train staff in stopping discrimination against LGBTQ victims of abuse, an area where there has apparently been confusion.


Placing paternalistic restrictions on tribal courts in the name of ‘due process’ is nothing more than a disguise for prejudice. Mary Kathryn Nagle of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center


Most alarmingly, the GOP bill would leave Native women, who face appallingly high levels of violence, less protected from their abusers by weakening tribal courts and infringing on tribal sovereignty, according to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC).



Ernst’s bill would put restrictions on tribal courts that go beyond those imposed on federal and state courts, including unnecessary audits by the U.S. attorney general, NIWRC said. It would also eliminate  gains made in the 2013 VAWA reauthorization  that gave tribes badly needed jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Native men who abuse Native women on tribal lands. Under Ernst’s bill, these non-Native abusers would no longer have to exhaust tribal court remedies before appealing their case to a federal court.



“Tribal courts prosecuting non-Indian defendants already provide the same ― if not more ― due process rights than state and federal courts,” said Mary Kathryn Nagle, a partner and counsel at NIWRC. “Placing paternalistic restrictions on tribal courts in the name of ‘due process’ is nothing more than a disguise for prejudice.”



The Republican bill would also waive tribes’ sovereign immunity by creating a civil rights cause of action against the tribe for any alleged rights violation. In other words, domestic violence offenders would have the opportunity to further strike out at their victims and tribal government officials by claiming their own civil rights had been violated.



“Given that no one has been able to articulate a specific instance or example where a VAWA 2013-implementing Tribe has violated a non-Indian defendant’s rights, this provision in particular seems aimed solely at creating unprecedented liability for Tribes implementing this restored jurisdiction, thus discouraging them to do so,” Nagle said.


Native women desperately need strong VAWA protections. Three out of five Native women have been assaulted in their lifetimes and 34% will be raped, according to the National Congress of American Indians. On some reservations, Native women are murdered at a rate more than 10 times the national average .



And tribal courts need jurisdiction to prosecute non-Native perpetrators of domestic violence. Some  59% of Native women were married to non-Native men as of 2010, and 59% of assaults against Native women take place at or near a private residence.



“As the chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes, one of the first tribes to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians for domestic violence-related crimes under the 2013 VAWA tribal provisions, we are deeply disappointed by the VAWA legislation introduced by Senator Ernst,” Teri Gobin said in a statement. “The provisions in Senator Ernst’s bill would prevent tribal courts and tribal governments from protecting the most vulnerable, our women and children.”



Perhaps aware that tribes wouldn’t be happy with some of these provisions, Ernst rolled separate legislation supported by tribes into her VAWA bill as a sweetener. Savanna’s Act,  a broadly supported bill that addresses the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, is part of her legislation.



That move could backfire, though, if the sponsors of Savanna’s Act don’t want their bipartisan legislation tied up in a broader fight over VAWA.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a prominent voice on Native issues and lead sponsor of Savanna’s Act, took a moment during a Wednesday hearing on her bill and the related Not Invisible Act to press for a bipartisan VAWA bill that empowers tribal governments.



“We know where the sexual predators go. They are preying on Native women in numbers that are just offensive because they know that they can commit offenses with impunity,” Murkowski said in unexpectedly passionate remarks. “We are dealing with vulnerable women here. We are dealing with those who really feel that they have no voice. The last thing in the world they want to do is get caught up in our partisan politics.”



The senator  also tweeted Thursday that she hopes Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act get passed quickly, at least indirectly suggesting that she doesn’t want them caught up in a partisan fight over VAWA.


We are deeply disappointed by the VAWA legislation introduced by Senator Ernst. Teri Gobin, chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes


Ernst’s bill isn’t likely to get any Democratic support or even unanimous Republican backing. She is one of only 11 GOP co-sponsors and is missing several female senators, including Murkowski. Her bill’s other cosponsors are Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), John Hoeven (N.D.) and David Perdue (Ga.).



That’s in contrast to a ll 47 Senate Democrats last week  backing the House-passed VAWA bill  and, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), introducing it in the Senate as their bill.



Ernst appears to have angered advocates for anti-domestic violence groups and tribes, both of whom told HuffPost that for months she rebuffed their efforts to see the contents of her developing bill. That may explain why Feinstein’s legislation  picked up endorsements from 57 leading survivor advocacy groups, who said she worked with them on the bill’s language. Gobin of the Tulalip Tribes also endorsed the Democratic bill.



One tribal advocate on the Hill, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told HuffPost that tribal leaders had been asking since September for a meeting with staffers for Hoeven, the chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, to talk about tribal provisions in VAWA. They haven’t got one. Meanwhile, Hoeven joined Ernst on the Senate floor on Wednesday to back her bill.



An Ernst spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about tribes and domestic violence organizations feeling ignored by her office.



A Senate Indian Affairs Committee spokesperson said their people have met several times over the last year with tribal judges and organizations on public safety issues like VAWA, most recently in late September. The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is the primary authorizing committee for VAWA, has also met with tribal groups, the spokesperson said.



The spokesperson did not say, though, why neither Hoeven nor his staff would meet with tribal leaders who have asked for meetings on VAWA in the past two months.



For the moment, congressional lawmakers don’t appear anywhere near settling on a VAWA bill that both parties and both chambers can support. Meanwhile, the landmark 1994 law has been lapsed for nearly a year , which is an embarrassing failure by Congress. It’s not clear how much the delay in reauthorization has already affected federal funding for domestic abuse programs around the country.




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1stwarrior
1  seeder  1stwarrior    3 weeks ago

One tribal advocate on the Hill, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told HuffPost that tribal leaders had been asking since September for a meeting with staffers for Hoeven, the chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, to talk about tribal provisions in VAWA. They haven’t got one. Meanwhile, Hoeven joined Ernst on the Senate floor on Wednesday to back her bill.

Whoa - wait a minute - the CHAIR OF THE SENATE INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, Hoeven, is supporting Ernst's knee tackles to the Native American women/Tribes/Nations????

What a friggin' joke.

 
 
 
Enoch
1.1  Enoch  replied to  1stwarrior @1    3 weeks ago

Dear Friend 1st Warrior: Thank you for posting this very important seed. 

Among the first groups, statistically and Per Capita which need protect against intimacy assault are indigenous woman. 

That is just an incontrovertible fact, well documented.

We either are a nation of law, including the Equal Protection clause in our Constitution or we are not.

We need to work on this.

Morality and nation values compel improvement.

Articles like this raise awareness.

We are indebted to you for sharing this with us.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     3 weeks ago
What a friggin' joke.

BINGO

 
 
 
Kavika
3  Kavika     3 weeks ago
Here are the co sponsers. Match them up with the amount of money they received from the NRA...and there ya go.
Her bill’s other cosponsors are Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), John Hoeven (N.D.) and David Perdue (Ga.).
 
 
 
1stwarrior
3.1  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @3    3 weeks ago

As of 2018 - Ernst - $3,124,273

Rubio - $3,303,355

Perdue - $1,985,773

Capito - $335,770

Young - $245,720

Cornyn - $59,635

Graham - $49,049

The others aren't/weren't listed.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2  Dulay  replied to  Kavika @3    3 weeks ago

What's their excuse for gutting the jurisdiction of Native American tribes? 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2.1  Kavika   replied to  Dulay @3.2    3 weeks ago
What's their excuse for gutting the jurisdiction of Native American tribes?

Well, cuz we're Indians...That's reason enough for them. 

 
 
 
1stwarrior
3.2.2  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @3.2.1    3 weeks ago

We have all the money they want (natural resources).  If ya can't get it by hook-r-crook, "regulate" them out of existence.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.3  Dulay  replied to  1stwarrior @3.2.2    3 weeks ago

The thing is that they're scraping back provisions that have been in the law since 2013. 

As the seed says, there is no evidence that indicates that there has been any issue with civil rights violations but the added that BS in anyway. 

I keep coming back to the same question, WHY? 

The VAWA passed the House with a truly bi-partisan vote. Debate it, Amend it and PASS it! 

Ernst pretends that the issue shouldn't be partisan while making it just that. 

WTF!

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2.4  Kavika   replied to  Dulay @3.2.3    3 weeks ago

There is a provision in the reauthorization that has to do with guns. The NRA is dead set against it. The sponsor, Ernst and two of the co-sponsors have received $3 million, $3 million and $2 million from the NRA.

That is the reason one of the main reasons. The other being they hate the idea of a white guy being tried in tribal court for violence against native women. 

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.5  Dulay  replied to  Kavika @3.2.4    3 weeks ago
The other being they hate the idea of a white guy being tried in tribal court for violence against native women. 

That's the one I don't get. How does Ernst justify that BS. As the seed states, the majority of native women are married to non-native men. How can they justify giving them a blanket immunity from a sovereign state? 

Ernst should change the name of the bill to 'Violence against some women act'. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2.6  Kavika   replied to  Dulay @3.2.5    3 weeks ago

Dulay, 71% of sexual assaults against Native women are by non-native men. 

In the first VAWA Native women were excluded. In the reauthorization,  many republicans wanted to continue this but were finally overruled. 

It would seem that they are back to the ''don't protect native women''....

This all goes back to the Oliphant decision by SCOTUS in 1978 that said that Indians courts do not have the right to prosecute non Indians.

 
 
 
Ronin2
3.2.7  Ronin2  replied to  Dulay @3.2.3    3 weeks ago
The VAWA passed the House with a truly bi-partisan vote. Debate it, Amend it and PASS it! 

Bullshit.

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/04/707685268/violence-against-women-act-gets-tangled-up-in-gun-rights-debate

However, House Republicans broadly object to at least four new policies added to the bill to reauthorize VAWA — which expired in February when Democrats objected to GOP efforts to include a short-term extension of the law in a spending deal. But the most controversial are new provisions to lower the criminal threshold to bar someone from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking charges. Current law applies to felony convictions. There are other objections. Republicans also oppose a new provision to allow U.S. citizens to be tried in tribal courts for crimes of domestic or dating violence committed by non-native perpetrators on native lands; a provision to create a pathway for an "alternative justice response" as a form of mediation between victims and abusers; and the expansion of existing protections to include transgender victims. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., an abuse survivor, attempted to strip provisions that would allow transgender women access to shelters and the ability to serve in prisons that align with the sex with which they identify, but it failed along party lines. Republicans want those access and sentencing guidelines to continue to correspond with biological sex assigned at birth.

The House bill had several poison pills in it and the Democrats knew it. It would never get passed in a Republican Senate. The Democrats are playing politics just as much as the Republicans by not passing a clean bill.

As for the rest of your rant the Senate is working on a bi-partisan bill themselves.

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/471386-gop-senator-blocks-vote-on-house-passed-violence-against-women-act

Feinstein and Ernst were tapped to work out a bipartisan Senate bill that could get the 60 votes needed to get through the chamber. But talks unraveled earlier this month. Senate Democrats introduced the House bill last week, and Ernst introduced her own bill on Wednesday. 
 
Both Feinstein and Ernst appeared open, during the floor speeches on Wednesday, to trying to work out a bipartisan agreement by the end of the year. 
 
"I think that by the end of the year, we should find something that will work to reauthorize this very, very important piece of legislation, and I appreciate your leadership on this very much and truly have enjoyed working with you," Ernst said. 

But in addition to the gun-related provisions, Feinstein pointed to LGBT and tribal sovereignty provisions as two other sticking points for trying to work out a bipartisan deal. 
 
The Democrats are just pissed their poison pill House Bill is DOA in the Senate. After the crypt keeper Harry Reid sitting on hundreds of House Republican bills I don't see how they have room to bitch.

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.8  Dulay  replied to  Ronin2 @3.2.7    3 weeks ago
Bullshit.

Nope. 33 Republicans voted for the House version of the VAWA. 

Major FAIL. 

As for the rest of your rant the Senate is working on a bi-partisan bill themselves.

Yet the bill that Ernst has filed is NOT bi-partisan. Those negotiations broke down early this month. Note that not one Democratic Senator is a co-sponsor on the bill. Hell, your own fucking link states that Feinstein wants to vote on the House bill instead.  

 
 
 
Dulay
3.2.9  Dulay  replied to  Kavika @3.2.6    3 weeks ago
It would seem that they are back to the ''don't protect native women''....

It sure as hell does and it's an outrage. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2.10  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @3.2.7    3 weeks ago
Republicans also oppose a new provision to allow U.S. citizens to be tried in tribal courts for crimes of domestic or dating violence committed by non-native perpetrators on native lands

A complete load of bull shit...Tribal courts have had the authority to try non-Indians for domestic or dating violence since 2015...

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/tribal/legacy/2014/02/06/vawa-2013-tribal-jurisdiction-overnon-indian-perpetrators-domesticviolence.pdf

The Yaqui was the first to prosecute a non-Indian for domestic on Native land. As of June 2017, theYaqui have prosecuted 18 non-Indians. More have been added since then.

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/archive/pascua-yaqui-tribe-first-to-use-vawa-to-prosecute-non-indian-DaUpRysbBkCp7qEnIVXnJQ/

Erntz and her co-sponsors are full of shit. PERIOD.

BTW, American Indians are US citizens. Perhaps someone should tell Erntz and her co-sponsors that fact.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
3.2.11  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @3.2.10    3 weeks ago
BTW, American Indians are US citizens. Perhaps someone should tell Erntz and her co-sponsors that fact.

And perhaps someone should inform a good many non-Natives of that as well. 

 
 
 
1stwarrior
3.2.12  seeder  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @3.2.10    3 weeks ago

Good response Kavika.  If you don't mind, I'd like to expound a bit.

Ernst and her crew need to take a deeper look into the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010.  The TLOA SPECIFICALLY authorizes what she is attempting to take out of the VAWA as Reauthorized in 2013.

The purposes of the Tribal Law and Order Act are to:

  • Clarify the responsibilities of the federal, state, tribal, and local governments with respect to crimes in Indian Country;
  • Increase coordination and communication among federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies;
  • Empower tribal governments with the authority, resources, and information necessary to safely and effectively provide public safety in Indian Country;
  • Reduce the prevalence of violent crime in Indian Country and to combat sexual and domestic violence against Alaska Native and Native American women; prevent drug trafficking and reduce rates of alcohol and drug addiction in Indian Country; and
  • Increase and standardize the collection of criminal data to and the sharing of criminal history information among federal, state, tribal, and local officials responsible for responding to and investigating crimes in Indian Country.

The VAWA only expanded/clarified those areas highlighted above.  However, as per usual practice of Congress, the funding required for those actions has either been curtailed or reduced a significant amount.  Hence, the actions required by the Feds/State/tribal and local officials under TLOA have been coming at piecemeal.  But, TLOA is a viable and enforceable Act which the "I don't like Native Americans" attitude of the Repubs doesn't really stand much ground under the microscope and SCOTUS will (supposedly) fully support any and all activities undertaken under the auspices of TLOA.

Tribal governments, like all governments, have a moral duty to their citizens and guests to ensure the public’s safety. They are also the most appropriate and capable government to ensure such safety—they employ the local police, they are the first responders, and understand the needs of their community better than all others. Unfortunately, the American legal system—through legislation and case law—has significantly hamstrung their ability to ensure safety in Indian country. Brent Leonhard, Interim Lead Attorney, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Written testimony for the Indian Law and Order Commission, Hearing on the Tulalip Reservation, WA September 7, 2011

What HAS occurred under TLOA is that the Tribes/Nations can now apprehend and try non-natives for criminal/civil offenses that occur on Native Reservations up to and including Major Crimes (as long as there is a Memorandum of Concurrency by the applicable Fed Agency)    The "Major Crimes" are:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Kidnapping
  • Maiming
  • A felony under chapter 109A (i.e. sexual abuse)
  • Incest
  • A felony assault under section 113 (e.g. assault with intent to commit murder or assault with a dangerous weapon)
  • An assault against an individual who has not attained the age of 16 years
  • Felony child abuse or neglect,
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Robbery, and
  • A felony under section 661 of this title (i. e. larceny)

After the Major Crimes Act was passed, many tribes continued to prosecute Native Americans for major crimes, thus exercising jurisdiction concurrent with the federal courts. This practice was upheld by the  Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  in the 1995 case  Wetsit v. Stafne .

An excellent report on the need and sufficiency of TLOA is located here:

https://www.aisc.ucla.edu/iloc/report/files/Front_Material.pdf

Yeah, I know - little long winded.

In a nutshell, TLOA and VAMA are tied together.  If Ernst and her tag-a-longs want to upend VAMA, then they will also have to upend TLOA - and get their azzes handed to them quite soundly.

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2.13  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @3.2.12    3 weeks ago

Excellent....

 
 
 
Enoch
3.2.14  Enoch  replied to  Raven Wing @3.2.11    3 weeks ago

Dear Sister Raven Wing: Thanks.

That is a point we share in common.

E.

 
 
 
Dulay
4  Dulay    3 weeks ago

What the actual fuck!

7 months and this is the crap they come up with? 

 
 
 
katrix
5  katrix    3 weeks ago

This was a long seed, and I want to read it all again before I discuss it. I think it deserves my full attention. Thanks for seeding it.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
6  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

 it would negatively affect lawmakers’ NRA rating

Screw their rating.  It is the people's rating that should be important to the politicians.  It is time for the hill to put the people's needs above those of the deep pocket NRA.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
7  Thrawn 31    3 weeks ago

SIgh, do you want men who beat, mutilate, or rape/sexually assault women to be prosecuted? Yes, then you support this bill. 

If not then you are a complete piece of shit (a no) the cartels should have their way with you. 

 
 
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