CSHJR 3(CRA): Urging members of the Alaska delegation to the United States Congress to introduce substantially similar legislation to the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act of 2013.
00 CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3(CRA) 01 Urging members of the Alaska delegation to the United States Congress to introduce 02 substantially similar legislation to the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act of 2013. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS the 229 federally recognized tribes in the state represent a vast 05 continuum of cultural legacies enriched by thousands of years of traditions and place-based 06 ways of life; and 07 WHEREAS many Alaska tribal communities face severe problems relating to 08 poverty, lack of economic opportunity, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, and sexual 09 assault; and 10 WHEREAS the percentage of Alaska Natives living below the federal poverty 11 guideline is nearly twice the national average; and 12 WHEREAS the unemployment rate for Alaska Natives is dramatically higher than the 13 national average; and 14 WHEREAS the alcohol-related death rate for Alaska Natives has, in recent years, 15 been more than 16 times higher than the alcohol-related death rate for Caucasians; and 16 WHEREAS rural communities in the state have, in recent years, reported alarming
01 opioid, heroin, and methamphetamine abuse; and 02 WHEREAS Alaska Native women in rural communities have reported rates of 03 domestic violence multiple times higher than the national average; and 04 WHEREAS Alaska Native women suffer the highest rate of sexual assault of any 05 population in the United States, and the rate of sexual assault for Alaska Native children is six 06 times the national average; and 07 WHEREAS, while Alaska Natives represent 19 percent of the population of the state, 08 they make up 36 percent of Alaskans in prisons or jails; and 09 WHEREAS, in the past 25 years, state, federal, and joint commissions, task forces, 10 and committees established to address those issues have included the Alaska Natives 11 Commission, created in 1990; the Alaska Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Fairness 12 and Access, created in 1995; the Alaska Commission on Rural Governance and 13 Empowerment, created in 1998; the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission, 14 created in 2004; the Indian Law and Order Commission, created in 2010; and the United 15 States Attorney General's Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native 16 Children Exposed to Violence, created in 2013; and 17 WHEREAS each of those bodies concluded that the current law enforcement and 18 justice systems alone have been unable to address and reduce crime, social ills, and 19 community distress adequately in rural Alaska; and 20 WHEREAS each of those bodies identified the need to strengthen the authority, 21 responsibility, and capacity of local tribal governments to administer public safety and justice 22 in their communities; and 23 WHEREAS many experts agree that greater control, better defined jurisdiction, and 24 increased accountability at the local level will lead to swifter response to violence and 25 criminal activity in communities, increased crime prevention, and increased rehabilitative, 26 rather than punitive, sentencing models; and 27 WHEREAS, in matters of jurisdiction and the delivery of justice at the local level, 28 having the state and Alaska Native tribes work together in an improved relationship will 29 benefit communities throughout Alaska; and 30 WHEREAS ambiguities in federal laws deprive Alaska tribes of jurisdictional tools to 31 make their communities safer and healthier; and
01 WHEREAS the original version of the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act of 02 2013, which failed to pass the 113th United States Congress, included provisions to establish 03 a demonstration project under which a number of Alaska Native tribes would possess 04 enhanced authority over domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, greater local law 05 enforcement responsibilities to combat alcohol and drug abuse, increased federal funding for 06 development of their tribal courts and local law enforcement needs, and improved 07 coordination and communication among federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement 08 agencies; 09 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the members of the 10 Alaska delegation in the United States Congress to introduce legislation substantially similar 11 to the original Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act of 2013, reported to the Senate in the 12 First Regular Session of the 113th United States Congress. 13 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of 14 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and 15 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of 16 Representatives; the Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader of the U.S. House of 17 Representatives; the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the U.S. House of 18 Representatives; the Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate; the 19 Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate; and the Honorable Lisa 20 Murkowski and the Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, 21 U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.