On September 22nd, Senator John Thune participated in a Senate Indian Affairs oversight hearing titled, “Tribal Law and Order Act One Year Later: Have We Improved Public Safety and Justice Throughout Indian Country?”
Thune was an original co-sponsor of the Tribal Law and Order legislation that was signed into law, and was a leading voice on the first Tribal Law and Order Act, which was originally introduced in September 2008.
Click HERE to watch Thune question panelists at the Senate Indian Affairs Oversight hearing on September 22, 2011.
Thune’s opening statement submitted for the record is as follows:
“Thank you Chairman Akaka and Ranking Member Barrasso for allowing me to participate today in this very important hearing. I would also like to thank the witnesses for their willingness to testify.
“After working on the Tribal Law and Order Act for over three years, I was so pleased to see the bill signed into law in July of 2010.
“The conditions on many of our nation’s reservations, including in my home state of South Dakota, are not acceptable.
“While enactment of the Tribal Law and Order Act was not the silver bullet to solving all of the problems on our nation’s reservations, I do believe that it was an important step in the right direction to improving public safety and justice.
“I am looking forward to hearing from today’s witnesses on the implementation progress that the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Indian Health Service (IHS) have made.
“I am especially interested to learn about the provisions that I worked to include in the Tribal Law and Order Act including an increase in the maximum hiring age for BIA law enforcement officers and the ability for federal magistrates to hold trials and other court proceedings in tribal courtrooms.
“In addition to all the positive improvements that have been made I also am interested to learn about what more that needs to be done.
“Thank you again for letting me participate in this important hearing and the witnesses for their testimony.”