WASHINGTON - A bill to help protect women from violence has passed the U.S. House.
The Violence Against Women Act passed with a vote of 286-138.
The bill seeks to protect more than just female victims of domestic violence.
The revised version will now extend abuse protection to gay, lesbian, and transgender people. In addition, Native Americans will be able prosecute nontribal members involved in sexually based crimes on reservation land, and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence can now seek legal status.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was one of the main supporters of reauthorizing the act. Crapo said between 1993 to 2008, organizations who serve domestic violence victims funded by the act have decreased the number of women killed by an intimate partner by 30 percent.
"As a long-time champion of the prevention of domestic violence, I'm glad to see that there are areas in congress where we can come together to support these important causes," said Crapo.
Although 87 Republicans voted for the new bill, Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming voted against it, saying it does not specifically grant due process to nontribal members convicted of a crime on a reservation.
"There's a little part in there that is unconstitutional and we couldn't get that changed so there was guaranteed due process for nontribal members," said Enzi.
The bill will now move to the president's desk to be signed.