IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
August 1, 2013
Mr. Begich (for himself and Ms. Murkowski) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To encourage the State of Alaska to enter into intergovernmental agreements with Indian tribes in the State relating to the enforcement of certain State laws by Indian tribes, to improve the quality of life in rural Alaska, to reduce alcohol and drug abuse, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as
Alaska Safe Families and Villages
Act of 2013
Findings and purposes
Congress finds that—
residents of remote Alaska villages suffer disproportionately from crimes and civil disturbances rooted in alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, suicide, and domestic violence;
the alcohol-related suicide rate in remote Alaska villages is 6 times the average in the United States and the alcohol-related mortality rate is 3.5 times that of the general population of the United States;
Alaska Native women suffer the highest rate of forcible sexual assault in the United States and an Alaska Native woman is sexually assaulted every 18 hours;
according to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, one in two Alaska Native women experience physical or sexual violence;
according to the 2006 Initial Report and Recommendations of the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission, more than 95 percent of all crimes committed in rural Alaska can be attributed to alcohol abuse;
the cost of drug and alcohol abuse in Alaska is estimated at $525,000,000 per year;
there are more than 200 remote villages in Alaska, which are ancestral homelands to Indian tribes and geographically isolated by rivers, oceans, and mountains making most of those villages accessible only by air;
small size and remoteness, lack of connection to a road system, and extreme weather conditions often prevent or delay travel, including that of law enforcement personnel, into remote villages, resulting in challenging law enforcement conditions;
less than 1/2 of remote Alaska villages are served by trained State law enforcement entities and several Indian tribes provide peace officers or tribal police without adequate training or equipment;
the lack of effective law enforcement entities in remote Alaska villages contributes significantly to increased crime, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, domestic violence, rates of suicide, poor educational achievement, and lack of economic development;
Indian tribes that operate within remote Alaska villages should be empowered to participate in local culturally relevant solutions to effectively provide law enforcement entities in villages and access to swift judicial proceedings;
increasing capacities of local law enforcement entities to achieve increased tribal involvement in State law enforcement in remote villages will promote a stronger link between the State and village residents, encourage community involvement, and create greater local accountability with respect to violence and substance abuse; and
the United States has a trust responsibility to Indian tribes in the State.
The purposes of this Act are—
to improve the delivery of justice in Alaska Native villages by encouraging the State and Indian tribes to enter into intergovernmental agreements relating to the enforcement and adjudication of State laws relating to drug and alcohol offenses; and
to enhance coordination and communication among Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies.
In this Act:
The term Attorney General means the Attorney General of the United States.
The term Director means the Director of the Office of Tribal Justice.
The term “Indian tribe” has the meaning given the term in section 102 of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a).
Participating Indian tribe
The term participating Indian tribe means an Indian tribe selected by the Director to participate in the program.
The term program means the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Self Governance Program established under this Act.
The term State means the State of Alaska.
The term tribal court means any court, council, or a mechanism of any court or council sanctioned by an Indian tribe for the adjudication of disputes, including the violation of tribal laws, ordinances, and regulations.
Alaska Safe Families and Villages Self Governance Program
The Attorney General shall establish a program in the Office of Tribal Justice Programs of the Department of Justice, to be known as the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Self Governance Program, to make grants to Indian tribes in carrying out intergovernmental agreements described in subsection (d).
Each Indian tribe desiring to participate in the program shall submit to the Director an application in accordance with this section.
To be eligible to participate in the program, an Indian tribe in the State shall—
request participation by resolution or other official action from the governing body of the Indian tribe;
have for the preceding 3 fiscal years no uncorrected significant and material audit exceptions regarding any Federal contract or grant;
demonstrate to the Attorney General sufficient governance capacity to conduct the program, as evidenced by the history of the Indian tribe in operating government services (including public utilities, children’s courts, law enforcement, social service programs, or other activities);
certify that the Indian tribe has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the State described in subsection (d);
meet such other criteria as the Attorney General may promulgate, after providing public notice and an opportunity to comment; and
submit to the Attorney General of the State a copy of the application.
Each application submitted under this subsection shall be subject to public comment for a period of not less than 30 days after the date on which a notice of the application is published in a newspaper or other publication of general circulation in the vicinity of the Native village of the Indian tribe.
Use of amounts
Each participating Indian tribe shall use amounts—
to carry out a planning phase that may include—
internal governmental and organizational planning;
developing written tribal law or ordinances detailing the structure and procedures of the tribal court;
developing enforcement mechanisms; and
negotiating and finalizing any intergovernmental agreements necessary to carry out this Act; and
to carry out activities of the Indian tribe in accordance with an applicable intergovernmental agreement with the State.
The State (including political subdivisions of the State) and Indian tribes in the State are encouraged to enter into intergovernmental agreements relating to the enforcement of certain State laws by the Indian tribe.
An intergovernmental agreement described in paragraph (1) may describe the duties of the State and the applicable Indian tribe relating to—
the employment of law enforcement officers, probation, and parole officers;
the appointment and deputization by the State of tribal law enforcement officers as special officers to aid and assist in the enforcement of the criminal laws of the State;
the enforcement of punishments imposed by the Indian tribe under tribal law;
the transfer of enforcement duties for State drug- and alcohol-related misdemeanor offenses to the Indian tribe;
the adjudication by the Indian tribe of State drug- and alcohol-related misdemeanor offenses;
the transfer of information and evidence between tribal law enforcement entities and the court system of the State;
the detention of offenders;
searches and seizures of alcohol and drugs at municipal and State airports; and
jurisdictional or financial matters.
title II of Public Law 90–284
25 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.
) (commonly known as
Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968
intergovernmental agreement described in paragraph (1) may include remedies to
be imposed by the applicable Indian tribe relating to the enforcement of State
restorative justice, including circle sentencing;
commitments for treatment;
emergency detentions; and
any other remedies agreed to by the State and Indian tribe.
Not later than May 1 of each year, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives an annual report that—
describes the grants awarded under the program;
assesses the effectiveness of the program; and
includes any recommendations of the Attorney General relating to the program.
Each report shall be prepared in consultation with the government of each participating Indian tribe and the State.
No liability for the State of Alaska
The State, including any political subdivision of the State, shall not be liable for any act or omission of a participating Indian tribe in carrying out this Act, including any act or omission of a participating Indian tribe undertaken pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement described in subsection (d).
The Attorney General shall promulgate such regulations as the Attorney General determines are necessary to carry out this Act.
Eligibility for Federal programs
Participating Indian tribes shall be eligible for the same tribal court and law enforcement programs and level of funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Justice as are available to other Indian tribes.
Applicability in Alaska
Nothing in this Act limits the application in the State of—
any amendments made by the Acts referred to in subparagraphs (A) and (B).
Effect of Act
Nothing in this Act—
limits, alters, or diminishes the civil or criminal jurisdiction of the State, any subdivision of the State, or the United States;
limits or diminishes the jurisdiction of any Indian tribe in the State, including inherent and statutory authority of the Indian tribe over child protection, child custody, and domestic violence (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act);
creates a territorial basis for the jurisdiction of any Indian tribe in the State or otherwise creates Indian country in any area of the State;
confers any criminal jurisdiction on any Indian tribe in the State;
diminishes the trust responsibility of the United States to Indian tribes in the State;
abridges or diminishes the sovereign immunity of any Indian tribe in the State;
alters the criminal or civil jurisdiction of the Metlakatla Indian Community within the Annette Islands Reserve (as in effect on the date before the date of enactment of this Act);
alters the authority of the State to file, in the discretion of the State, a civil or criminal action for the violation of State law;
limits in any manner the eligibility of the State, any political subdivision of the State, or any Indian tribe in the State, for any other Federal assistance under any other law; or
affects the authority of the United States or any State government that has been delegated authority by the United States to investigate and prosecute a criminal violation in Indian country, including under section 1162 of title 18, United States Code.
The Attorney General shall use amounts made available to the Attorney General for the Office of Tribal Justice to carry out the program under this Act.
Repeal of special rule for State of Alaska