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The Latest: Senators press feds on response to Native safety

June 19, 2019
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FILE - In this Friday, June 14, 2019, file photo, Miranda Muehl, of Mustang, Okla., marches during a march to call for justice for missing and murdered indigenous women at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma in Concho, Okla. A key congressional committee is holding a hearing on a slate of legislation aimed at addressing the deaths and disappearances of Native American women. The bills before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs would require law enforcement to submit annual reports to Congress to give lawmakers a better handle on the number of cases. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on federal legislation aimed at addressing violence against Native American women (all times local):

4 p.m.

Lawmakers are pressing the Trump administration to respond with urgency in addressing violence against Native American women and children after two officials arrived at a key U.S. Senate hearing unprepared to take concrete positions on legislation.

Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, says the federal officials failed to meet a deadline for written testimony ahead of the hearing.

Tracy Toulou, director of the Justice Department Office of Tribal Justice, apologized for the delay, saying the bills are complex and require wide review within the department.

Charles Addington, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services, also apologized and said it got held up during a clearance process.

Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, expressed “utter frustration” over the situation.

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12:30 p.m.

A key congressional committee is holding a hearing on a slate of legislation aimed at addressing the deaths and disappearances of Native American women.

The bills before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs would require law enforcement to submit annual reports to Congress to give lawmakers a better handle on the number of cases.

New standards also are proposed for law enforcement’s response to missing persons reports, especially on tribal lands.

Numerous Native American families have expressed frustration in testimony and interviews in the past year over officers’ handling of the reports.

Officials with the Justice and Interior departments, which provide resources for law enforcement on reservations, are expected to testify during Wednesday’s hearing.

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