Recent Press Releases

Thune Praises New Tribal Security Law

Attends signing ceremony for Tribal Law and Order Act

July 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  U.S. Senator John Thune praised the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) that was signed into law today. Thune was an original cosponsor of the TLOA, which passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on June 26, 2010.

"After working on the Tribal Law and Order Act for over three years, I'm pleased to see the day finally come when our bill has been signed into law," said Thune. "The conditions on our reservations in South Dakota and other places around the country are not acceptable. I believe this act is another step in the right direction toward empowering tribes and improving the quality of life on the reservations. Indian Country will now have access to vital resources that will ensure greater protection and security for South Dakota tribes. I look forward to continuing to work with tribal leaders and my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that the provisions in this bill are implemented correctly."

Since an original version of the TLOA was introduced in 2008, Thune has worked to address the serious safety issues in Indian Country through legislation. Thune asked South Dakota tribal leaders, law enforcement officials, and other stakeholders to submit their comments and suggestions on a draft TLOA that was circulated at that time. As a result of those comments, Thune worked with Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to include a provision that allows magistrates to hold trials and other court proceedings in tribal courtrooms as opposed to federal courts. Thune also added a provision to study the effectiveness of the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services program and how community policing and the broken windows theory can be applied on remote reservations like those found in South Dakota.

Thune also successfully included a provision into the recently passed TLOA that would increase the maximum hiring age for Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers from 37 years old to 47 years old. This would allow individuals who retire from military service to serve as tribal law enforcement officers.

In addition to his work on this bill, Thune has requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study tribal court systems and ways they can be improved. The GAO continues to make progress regarding their study and indicates that a report should be ready by the fall.