MADISON—This week, Senator Janet Bewley (D-Mason), Representative Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), and Representative Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield) called for public hearings on Senate Bill 493 / Assembly Bill 548 (SB 493/AB 548). These bills would create a task force which would examine the factors that contribute to violence against tribal women and girls before submitting a report to the Legislature and each Tribe with recommendations for actions that can be taken to reduce and eliminate this violence.
“Violence against women is a pervasive issue impacting tribal communities across the state and nation,” said Rep. Meyers. “Data from the US Department of Justice shows that tribal women and girls face murder rates of more than 10 times the national average. Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for indigenous girls between the ages of 10-24 years old.”
Senate Bill 493 was assigned to the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection, and Assembly Bill 548 was assigned to the Assembly Committee on State Affairs. The Legislators are asking the respective Chairs of these committees to hold public hearings on the bills.
Public hearings are the first step in the Legislative process for bills to become law in Wisconsin. Once both bills have had a public hearing and are voted out of committee, they are available for debate on the Senate and Assembly floors and can eventually become law.
“This legislation is an important first step to start addressing this systemic issue impacting communities across the state,” stated Rep. Stuck. “By creating a task force of knowledgeable individuals, they will report back to the Legislature and the Tribal Chairs with recommendations for what Wisconsin can do to help reduce and eliminate this violence against tribal women and girls.”
“The violence experienced by Native women and girls has gone unaddressed for too long,” Sen. Bewley added. “It is time for the State to take steps to reduce and eliminate this issue which affects up to 80% of tribal women in Wisconsin and nationwide, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice.”