Residents of the Funny River road area who had been evacuated were able to move back home Tuesday, but remain on evacuation alert in case they need to leave again. Rain is dampening fuel sources for the massive fire.
Last week, the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed a committee substitute version of the Safe Families and Villages bill that would allow Alaska Native tribes to expand their jurisdiction over substance abuse and domestic violence misdemeanor cases. The bill's sponsor, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D), says the bill gives tribes a way to work with the federal government to expand jurisdiction, and removes a provision in an earlier version that gave the state veto authority over aspects of tribal jurisdiction. Native American Rights Fund attorney Natalie Landreth says the bill also fixes a section of the Violence Against Women Act that excludes Alaska. Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty says he supports the goals, but finds the bill's approach problematic. He says the state has been working with the Interior Alaska regional tribal entity Tanana Chiefs Conference on an agreement that would expand tribal authority -- if the offender agrees to have his or her case diverted to tribal court. Alaska U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R), supported the original bill, but has not signed on as co-sponsor of the committee substitute version. The bill now goes to the full Senate.