Murkowski to reintroduce bill to help abused Native American women

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Trump administration denies permit for controversial Pebble Mine MORE (R-Alaska) aims to reintroduce legislation in the next Congress to combat violence against Native American women.

Murkowski told reporters last week that she spoke to outgoing Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration MORE (N.D.), who first introduced the bill in 2017 and vowed to make it a priority.

The bill "she has helped to advance, I am going to encourage every step of the way, aggressively and early,” Murkowski said, according to her office, as first reported by HuffPost.


“I’m looking for partners. I’ve already talked to Sen. [Maria] Cantwell, she’s willing to join up with me,” Murkowski added, referring to the Washington Democrat.

The bill, Savanna's Act, is named after a 22-year-old pregnant woman named Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was killed by a woman who wanted to abduct her baby. It is aimed at combating what advocates say is an epidemic of violence against Native American women.

Heitkamp, who lost her reelection bid in November, made passing the bill a priority during her final days in Congress. It passed the Senate earlier this month but stalled in the House under Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.). Heitkamp lost her bid for reelection and Goodlatte is retiring this month.

Murkowski was a co-sponsor of the Heitkamp bill along with lawmakers from a number of rural states.

The legislation would not reportedly cost any additional federal money and seeks to improve the government’s response to missing and murdered Native American women.

Heitkamp said that Native American women on some reservations are murdered at 10 times the national average and added that 84 percent of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime in a press release celebrating the legislation’s passage in the Senate earlier this month.

"It's an issue where there's been a complete lack of national awareness and attention," Heitkamp told NBC News at the time.

"When we came back here into the lame-duck session, being a lame-duck senator, this was, along with the farm bill, my highest priority and I'm not going to give up on this until the gavel goes down on this session,” she added.