Task Force On Violence Against Native Women Stalled In Madison

Jan 20, 2020

State Senator Janet Bewley
Credit Wisconsin.gov

Last October, bills were introduced in the legislature to create a task force on missing and murdered tribal women and girls, to be comprised of a majority of tribal individuals close to the issue.

Democratic State Senator Janet Bewley, and Assembly Democrats Beth Meyers and Amanda Stuck were joined by Republican Representative Jeff Mursau in sponsoring the bills.

At a press conference in Lac du Flambeau then, Bewley said tribal women face high rates of violence and abuse, up to 10 times the national average. Murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women.

The proposed task force would examine the causes of violence, track data, and make recommendations.

But Bewley reports though the legislature has been in session, not much has been happening..

"It was introduced in October. (The bills) were referred to a committee in the Assembly and a committee in the Senate. But since then, neither committee chair has called for a hearing. I think the important point is that people can certainly contact the chairs of the two committees. But it is up to them to have a hearing, but they don't have to..."

Bewley says it could be a long time before the bills are reviewed again. She says legislators are going into session this week, and then maybe twice more this session before they adjourn...

"...We will not be back in session until January of 2021..."

Senate Bill 493 was referred to the Committee on Government Operations chaired by Senator Duey(dewey) Stroebel.

Assembly Bill 548 was referred to the Committee on State Affairs, chaired by Representative Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander.