Republicans offer deal on American Indian courts

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are proposing legislation that could help the House and Senate come together on the Violence Against Women Act.

Their bill would give tribal courts the authority to prosecute non-American Indians accused of abusing their Indian partners on tribal lands, but would also allow defendants to request that their case be moved to a federal court if they felt their constitutional rights were being violated.

The issue of Native American courts has been a main stumbling block over the past year as the House and Senate have attempted to extend the 1994 act credited with reducing domestic violence in the country.

Domestic abuse rates are particularly high on reservations, but Senate efforts to give Indian courts more powers have raised constitutional issues in the House.

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