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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.