Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  U.S. Senator John Thune today commended the House of Representatives' passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA). Thune was an original cosponsor of the TLOA, which passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on June 26, 2010.

"Ensuring safety and rule of law in Indian Country is vital to the long-term success of our tribes in South Dakota and across the nation," said Thune. "After working closely with tribal leaders across the state, I'm pleased to see the full Congress pass the Tribal Law and Order Act, and I hope the President will swiftly sign the legislation into law."

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 (BIA) 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.