US Senate passes crime bill for tribes
Laramie, WY – The U.S. Senate has passed a bill giving American Indian tribes more authority to combat crime on reservations.
The Tribal Law and Order Act, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, now heads to the House. Thune says he expects the legislation to pass that chamber, too, and be signed by President Barack Obama.
The measure provides for the appointment of special U.S. attorneys to ensure violent crimes on reservations are prosecuted; improves training for reservation police; expands the sentencing authority of tribal courts; and improves the collection and reporting of Indian crime data.
Thune says the legislation would allow U.S. magistrates to hold trials and other proceedings in Indian Country, as opposed to having to take defendants to the nearest federal court.