Jan. 12, 2016
A bill to facilitate speedier enforcement of tribal protective orders to go before Legislators
By Molly Dischner, KDLG – Dillingham
Among the 31 bills filed in advance of this year’s Legislative session and released Friday (Jan. 8, 2016) is one that would direct the state of Alaska to recognize protective orders issued by tribal governments. That was submitted by Dillingham Representative Bryce Edgmon.
“It’s a bill that would essentially bring the state into compliance with federal law regarding tribal courts and their ability to issue protective orders, primarily around domestic violence incidents,” said Edgemon.
Now, when a tribal court issues a protective order, it has to be officially registered with the state to be enforced here. Edgmon’s bill would change that, so they’re recognized – and enforced – without that extra step.
“So it’s in one hand a technical fix,” Edgemon explained, “and on the other hand, a pretty important step forward for tribal courts to gain more authority visa vi state law.”
So far the bill has quite a bit of support at the state-level, including from the Attorney General and Department of Public Safety. But Edgmon says getting it passed during the 90 day session could still be a challenge, given everything that’s on the table:
“A huge budget deficit, other major legislation in the pipeline, and it, of course, being the second year of a two year cycle with election year politics in the background,” said Edgemon. “The other obstacle, and we’ll know more about this once we start to push the bill through, is historically anything that has tribe attached to it raises eyebrows among those in the Legislature who really have no knowledge of what tribes are about.”
The second batch of pre-files will be released January 15. The second half of the 29th Legislative Session starts January 19 in Juneau.
Alaska to receive federal funds of $1 million to help end homelessness among veterans
By Liz Ruskin, APRN
As part of the effort to end homelessness among veterans, the Obama administration has announced housing grants specifically for Native veterans. About $1 million is for Alaska, to house 60 veterans. HUD Secretary Julian (HOO-lee-on) Castro says nearly $6 million in housing assistance is going to tribes across the country.
“This ground-breaking new effort is going to help 500 military heroes get back on their feet and and help them move into secure housing and connect them to ongoing clinical services,” said Julian.
The program is a joint effort between HUD and the VA, which aims to provide case management to the veterans to keep them from becoming homeless again. The Alaska money is divided among three housing authorities: Cook Inlet, Tlingit-Haida and the Association of Village Council President. Bethel-based AVCP won the largest share, nearly $400,000.
Association of Village Council Presidents accused of mishandling federal funds
Leaders of four village tribes are calling for an investigation into the Association of Village Council Presidents and its spending of federal funds. Documents obtained by KYUK-AM show almost a decade of misspent federal grant dollars. Despite a federal official denying a formal request from President Myron Naneng, three $250,000 checks from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families account went to a vocational flight school. Naneng declined to comment.
Alaska Native advocate for engineering education invited to join First Lady during state of the union
By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA
A 24-year-old Alaska Native woman has been invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama to hear the president’s state of the union. Lydia Doza is originally from Anchorage and grew up in the Inupiaq, Tshimpshian, and Haida cultures. Through the President’s Generation Indigenous initiative to support Native American youth, Doza has worked to engage rural students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Doza is a student at Oregon Tech where she’s majoring in software technology. There, she’s also an event organizer for Engineering Ambassadors, which focuses on outreach to kids as young as three years old through high school to encourage a career in engineering.