Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2012

Bill introduced to strengthen Tribal Law and Order Act

     WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced bipartisan legislation on Friday, Feb. 10 to extend the term of Indian Law and Order Commission for an additional year.

     Vice Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Hoeven (R-ND), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) are cosponsors of the bill, S. 2090. 

     The role of the Commission is to assess how the Tribal Law and Order Act is being implemented and to recommend additional ways to strengthen justice and public safety for people living and working on and near Native American communities and lands throughout the United States. 

     “Vice Chairman Barrasso and I stand united in offering this bill to extend the Indian Law and Order Commission. We know that Indian policy often transcends party lines and that when we work together our efforts are stronger because of it. Today, we join hands again to further strengthen the Tribal Law and Order Act,” said Chairman Akaka. 

     “This Commission has an important mission in analyzing the serious law enforcement challenges in Indian Country and recommending solutions,” said Vice Chairman Barrasso. “The Commission has indicated that it needs additional time to do the best job possible on its report. That’s what Indian Country needs and deserves, so I support the extension.”

     “The Commission has energetically engaged in its important work, but we have much more to do,” said Troy A. Eid, Chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission. “The Tribal Law and Order Act is already improving the quality of justice in Indian Country and helping to save lives and property.  Extending the Commission’s duration for another year, so that we can complete our work in the two years that the Act originally intended, would require no new funding or any Congressional appropriations.”

     Although approved in 2010, the Commission was not funded until August 2011.  As a result of this delay, the Commission has had only one year, instead of two, to complete its assessment on the Tribal Law and Order Act. 

     “An extension will allow the Commission time to meet its goals as envisioned by the Tribal Law and Order Act,” said Chairman Akaka. 

– Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

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