Senate passes bill to address domestic violence in Alaska

From The Hill Blog

The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that repeals the “Alaska exemption” in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) got unanimous consent to pass a portion of S. 1474, the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act.

His bill repeals language in VAWA that prohibits Alaskan tribes from enforcing domestic violence laws against non-member Alaska Native Americans.

Begich said his bill was needed to allow state and tribal officials to coordinate on law enforcement and reduce issues of domestic violence on tribal lands.

The bill now heads to the House.

“This is a good step and I am pleased my bill has now passed the Senate and heads to the House,” Begich said. “I urge Congressman [Don] Young (R-Alaska) to work with his colleagues and pass this bill out of the House so it can become law — this cannot wait until the next Congress.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who cosponsored the bill, said it would remain a “top priority” for her in the next Congress. Begich lost his reelection race and will not return to the Senate next year.