Grassley plan will strengthen anti-violence law for women

By U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

April 5, 2012

Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a priority for both congressional Democrats and Republicans. Sen. Chuck Grassley and I are working on an alternative to the VAWA bill reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our legislation will strengthen some important provisions and fix some weaknesses in the committee bill.

Our bill will update in current law: tougher sentencing for violent crimes, support for sexual assault investigations, and a cyber-stalking bill authored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and me. We set VAWA funding at the current funding level.

Our bill also insists on better Justice Department oversight. Government auditors found 21 of 22 VAWA grant programs had significant waste, ineligible expenditures and other problems (none in Iowa). That’s unacceptable. With limited resources, taxpayer support needs to go to victims.

One of the problematic provisions of the committee bill would give tribal courts authority to arrest, try and imprison any American. This provision is probably unconstitutional; it is certainly impractical. Our bill will have a sound, practical alternative to protect Native American women.

Violence against women isn’t a partisan issue. The bill that Senator Grassley and I are bringing forward will contribute to Senate passage of a strong, credible reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Source: DesMoines Register