Natural Resources Committee Advances Bills to Protect Native Women, Children and Families, Designate Wilderness, and Recover Wildlife

Washington D.C. – Today Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) led a Committee markup to advance key Natural Resources priorities, including bills to protect Native women, children and families from violence.

Among other measures, the Committee approved H.R. 3977, sponsored by Committee Vice Chair Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), which expands the jurisdiction of tribal courts to prosecute non-Native perpetrators who commit crimes of sexual violence on tribal lands, and H.R. 4957, sponsored by Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States Chair Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), which reauthorizes programs to improve the prevention, investigation, treatment and prosecution of family violence, child abuse and child neglect involving Native children and families.

The Committee also passed S. 209, sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), which strengthens the tribal self-governance process and provides tribes the flexibility they need to administer federal programs. 

American Indian and Alaska Native women face murder rates 10 times the national average, yet violence against Native women cases are often not investigated. This year the Committee held several groundbreaking hearings on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis where Native women recommended solutions to the cycle of violence against them. The measures advanced in H.R. 3977 reflect input from those events.

Native children are victims of child maltreatment at a rate of 13.8 per 1,000, compared to the national rate of 9.2 children per 1,000, according to a 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rep. Gallego’s H.R. 4957 adds psychological or verbal abuse to the definition of “child abuse” under the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act and reauthorizes programs to improve the law’s implementation. 

On other issues, the committee advanced Rep. Derek Kilmer’s (D-Wash.) H.R. 2642, which designates 126,500 acres of wilderness and 465 river miles as Wild and Scenic Rivers in Washington state, and Rep. Debbie Dingell’s (D-Mich.) bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3742), which promotes wildlife conservation efforts and ensures the long-term health of American fish and wildlife.

Dingell’s bill has broad support from conservation and sportsmen’s leaders and represents the most signification investment in wildlife and habitat conservation in a generation. The bill would dedicate roughly $1.4 billion to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program for proactive, voluntary efforts led by the states, territories and tribal nations to prevent vulnerable wildlife from becoming endangered.

Bill texts, amendments, amendments in the nature of a substitute, and vote counts can be found at the House of Representatives Committee Repository at https://bit.ly/33RPWhE.

Markup action on the bills approved can viewed at https://bit.ly/2DNZFe9.

Bills Approved by the Committee 

H.R. 537 (Rep. Lamborn), To amend the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 to authorize pumped storage hydropower development utilizing multiple Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs. “Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act.”

H.R. 722 (Rep. Curtis), To designate a mountain in the State of Utah as "Miracle Mountain".  “Miracle Mountain Designation Act.”

H.R. 877 (Rep. Austin Scott), To amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to modernize the funding of wildlife conservation, and for other purposes. “Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow's Needs Act.”

H.R. 2642 (Rep. Kilmer), To designate and expand wilderness areas in Olympic National Forest in the State of Washington, and to designate certain rivers in Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park as wild and scenic rivers, and for other purposes. “Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.” 

H.R. 3742 (Rep. Dingell), To amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to make supplemental funds available for management of fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need as determined by State fish and wildlife agencies, and for other purposes. “Recovering America's Wildlife Act of 2019.”  

H.R. 3977 (Rep. Haaland), To amend the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 to extend the jurisdiction of tribal courts to cover crimes involving sexual violence, and for other purposes. “Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act.”

H.R. 4479 (Rep. Sablan), To temporarily provide Commonwealth-only transitional worker permits for workers in construction occupations involved in disaster recovery, and for other purposes. “Disaster Recovery Workforce Act.”

H.R. 4957 (Rep. Gallego), To amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act. “Native American Child Protection Act.”

S. 209 (Sen. Hoeven), A bill to amend the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to provide further self-governance by Indian Tribes, and for other purposes. “PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act.”

Press Contact

Monica Sanchez, (202) 225-6065