MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan joined Sen. Tina Smith as she called for the reactivation of the Violence Against Women Act in Congress.

The act, which provided $1.6 billion towards investigating and prosecuting violent crimes against women, was signed by former President Bill Clinton, but expired earlier this year.

“The Violence Against Women Act advances the fundamental and profound value that women should be free from violence wherever they are: in their homes, in their communities, in their workspace, wherever they are.” Smith said.

The Senator is a member of the Indian Affairs Committee in Washington. In January, she sponsored the Justice for Native Survivors of Sexual Violence Act.

“We face a crisis of Native women who’ve gone missing, murdered and affected by violence at alarmingly high rates,” said Flanagan.

In September, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan launched the first meeting of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force. Their goal is to draw attention to the disproportionate rates of murder and violence experienced by Indigenous women.