Noem opposes Violence Against Women ActBut congresswoman said she supports concept, preparing bill on issue.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday but said she largely supports the concept of offering more legal protection to women, men and children in domestic abuse scenarios.
The House passed the extension of the 1994 law by a 286-138 count, with 199 Democrats and 87 Republicans voting for it.
Many Republicans who opposed the extension expressed concern about adding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as part of the protected group in the law, and some were also concerned about allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians who attack their Indian partners on tribal lands.
The re-authorization passed in the Senate two weeks ago by a 78-22 vote, with South Dakota’s senators split along party lines. Democrat Tim Johnson voted for it, while Republican John Thune opposed it. With the House passing it, it now goes to President Obama, who said Thursday that he will sign it.
Noem pointed out that she was a cosponsor of last year’s House-passed version of the bill, which left out the section on gays and tribal prosecutions of non-Indians. She also said she would support added protections for women in Indian country.
Noem said she will soon introduce a bill that focuses on efforts specific to tribes to assist victims in receiving the justice.
“The legislation I am drafting will include efforts to increase coordination between United States and tribal law enforcement officers,” she said in a teleconference with South Dakota reporters Thursday. “It will also develop multi-disciplinary teams.
“I continue to believe it’s absolutely essential that we work to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and bring perpetrators to justice,” Noem said.
She said she opposed the extension because it could end up “muddying the waters with constitutionally questionable provisions that will likely only delay justice.”
Noem said Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley “share these concerns as well,” and they were concerned it could “cause additional delays for victims who have already been through too much.”
Daugaard and Jackley co-signed a letter to Thune in 2012 expressing those views.