Sen. Heitkamp ensures her fight to protect abused Native women won't end in new Congress
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota was defeated in November, but she’s gone out fighting for abused Native American women. Rep. Bob Goodlatte is retiring, but he’s gone out blocking Heitkamp’s bill helping Native women. The bill, Savanna’s Law, would increase communication between law enforcement agencies, improve crime data collection, and strengthen guidelines for responding when Native American women are missing or murdered—all without costing federal money. Goodlatte used his position as chair of the House Judiciary Committee to block the bill even though it passed the Senate unanimously. But Heitkamp isn’t leaving the bill to die as a new Congress comes in, Jennifer Bendery reports:
“I’ve committed to Sen. Heitkamp that this priority that she has helped to advance, I am going to encourage every step of the way, aggressively and early,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters last week, according to an audio recording provided by Murkowski’s office on Wednesday.
“I’m looking for partners. I’ve already talked to Sen. Cantwell, she’s willing to join up with me,” she said, referring to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow the bill through again, it should be able to get through a Democratic House. And no matter what, Heitkamp deserves credit for not giving up on helping a population that’s the target of so much violence.