Leaders Speak Out: Savanna’s Act Unanimously Passed in the Senate, Stopped in the House
The legislation is designed to improve access to crime databases and reporting missing and murdered Native Americans
FARGO, N.D. — Just weeks after Savanna Greywind was abducted and tragically killed, Savanna’s Act was introduced to the senate.
Just last week it was unanimously passed, and now it’s come to a halt in the House.
Just over a year after being introduced to the Senate, Democrat and Republican senators are agreeing; they want Savanna’s Act to pass.
“It has gotten incredible amounts of support on both sides, something that doesn’t happen very often, passing unanimously out of the senate,” said North Dakota Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
The legislation is designed to improve access to crime databases and reporting missing and murdered Native Americans.
“There is no doubt that this bill will have a positive impact not only for our tribes across the country and North Dakota but for everyone, every human being,” said State Rep. Ruth Buffalo, the first Native American Democratic woman elected to the North Dakota Legislature.
But the bill many thought would slide right through the house has now been put on hold.
“I don’t see any reason not to pass it from a policy standpoint it might just be a matter of the clock and maybe a technical glitch,” said Congressman Kevin Cramer, who is also a senator-elect.
But Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who introduced the bill in September of 2017, doesn’t agree.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Heitkamp said.
She says this pause can be owed to one congressman.
“Goodlatte could clearly clear this thing and it would be over. He is holding it up,” Heitkamp said.
Leaders like Ruth Buffalo say it’s important to focus on bipartisan support.
“This is a symptom of a larger issue that we need to face in our country and that is acknowledging that every human, every person deserves to live in a safe community and deserves protection,” Buffalo said.
Cramer says he has started a discussion with the judiciary committee and the acting attorney general to see what can be done regardless of the law being passed.
“Having a database again that people can access, that law enforcement can access I think it’s a very good thing, there’s no reason not to be doing it already and if passing the law helps get it done then we ought to pass the law,” Cramer said.
Heitkamp says if the house has time to put other bills into law, there is no reason Savanna’s act should be any different.
“Once again, our first citizens seem to always be the last for consideration of what we need to be doing to protect especially women and children,” Heitkamp said.
If it fails and needs to be reintroduced next session, they would need to start from square one.