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Haaland: Senate bill on violence against women undermines tribal sovereignty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M, is among lawmakers calling for the passage of the U.S. House version of the Violence Against Women Act.

Haaland, who is a co-chair of the Native American Caucus, and a bipartisan group of House members sent a letter to Senate leadership saying they preferred the VAWA that originated in their chamber.

The bill introduced in the Senate stripped critical protections for Native survivors of domestic violence and includes provisions that undermine tribal sovereignty, the letter said. The letter also said that the Senate bill creates administrative requirements for tribal courts that do not apply to other federal, state or local courts and destabilizes congressional protections and 50 years of case law for defendants under the Indian Civil Rights Act.

“The final version of the House passed bill works to seek justice for tribes that have historically lacked the public safety resources to protect their members and, if passed into law, will ensure these injustices don’t continue to exacerbate the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis in the United States,” the lawmakers wrote.

Also signing the letter were caucus co-chair Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Reps. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., David Joyce, R-Ohio, Gwen Moore, D-Wis., and Mike Simpson R-Ind.

They said provisions in the Senate version “clearly undermine tribal sovereignty … the protection of any woman or child regardless of where they live or what group they belong to should never be treated as a partisan issue.”

“We respectfully ask that you immediately come to a consensus on these critical tribal provisions and pass the carefully thought out bipartisan version of the VAWA reauthorization,” the lawmakers said.

HEINRICH BILL PROVIDES TAX CREDITS FOR POWER INFRASTRUCTURE: Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., introduced the Electric Power Infrastructure Improvement Act to provide a new investment tax credit that would help promote the construction of regionally significant transmission projects across the U.S.

The legislation seeks to drive investments needed to not only alleviate the current strain on existing transmission lines, but also make the grid more resilient and support new projects that connect modern renewable energy resources to the power demands of regional consumer markets.

“Despite all the progress we have made in the last decade in clean energy generation and changes in consumer demand, we are simply not doing enough to incentivize investments for the required transmission capacity,” Heinrich said. “Tax incentives have proven to be a major signal to investors to put their capital behind wind and solar. We should encourage the same type of growth for the infrastructure that will deliver the power from these resources to market.”

The legislation would provide a 15% investment tax credit for overhead and a 25% credit for underground or submarine transmission projects. Projects that would qualify for the investment credits are:

• Overhead, underground or offshore transmission lines, including ancillary facilities;

• At least 1000 megawatts and 345 kilovolts in capacity;

• Either alternating current or direct current;

• Deliver power produced in either a rural area or offshore; and

  • Be placed in service by Dec. 31, 2029.

 

KOREAN WAR VET RECEIVES MEDALS: Heinrich hosted a medal ceremony for Korean War veteran Alfred Austen at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial in Albuquerque on Dec. 22.

Heinrich presented the Albuquerque resident with the Korean Service Medal and Triple Bronze Star Attachment, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.

Austen, 89, was initially awarded the medals and commendations after serving in three campaigns in Korea but had yet to receive them.

Scott Turner: sturner@abqjournal.com

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