(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, along with Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), introduced bipartisan legislation to help Tribes, law enforcement, and the federal government better collaborate to combat the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis today.
Tester’s bipartisan Not Invisible Act would create an advisory committee on violent crimes against Native people composed of multiple federal agencies, Tribal leaders, survivors, support service providers, and state, local and tribal law enforcement organizations. It would also require the Secretary of the Interior to designate an official within the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services to coordinate violent crime prevention efforts across federal agencies.
“A lack of communication and coordination between the federal government and tribal communities in cases involving missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women has slowed law enforcement and delayed justice,” Tester said. “We have to do better at addressing this crisis. That’s why this bipartisan bill gives tribal, local, and state leaders—the folks who understand this issue best—a seat at the table to work with federal agencies to more effectively combat the MMIW crisis.”
The advisory committee would be responsible for making recommendations to the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice, as well as federal, state, and Tribal law enforcement agencies, about how to best respond to, report, and prevent violence and human trafficking throughout Indian Country.
As a former Chairman and senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Tester has taken a three-pronged approach to combating the MMIW crisis by raising awareness, empowering tribes and finding solutions.
Tester recently introduced Savanna’s Act to improve information sharing between tribal and federal law enforcement agencies and increase data collection on missing persons in Indian Country.
Earlier this year, Tester also reintroduced the SURVIVE Act to give tribes access to resources that help survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and called for a federal study on the MMIW crisis by introducing the Studying the Missing and Murdered Indian Crisis Act.
The text of Tester’s Not Invisible Act is availableHERE.
More information on Tester’s work to combat the MMIW crisis is available HERE.