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'Tribal courts are essential' | New Legislations Aims to Strengthen Tribal Court System

A new legislative initiative aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of tribal courts was introduced on Monday by Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Sharice Davids (D-KS), and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ). The proposed Tribal Courts Support Act seeks to address persistent issues within the current system, which have resulted in delays and inefficiencies in the establishment and funding of tribal courts by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

The Tribal Courts Support Act proposes a more efficient assessment process conducted by the BIA's Office of Tribal Justice Support (TJS), distinguishing between the assessments needed for establishing new tribal courts and those required for additional funding of existing courts. Additionally, the act mandates a review by the Government Accountability Office to recommend improvements to better address the diverse needs of tribal communities.

"Tribal justice systems are essential to tribal sovereignty and public safety in Indian Country," stated Rep. Omar. "This bill will remove unnecessary administrative barriers and expedite the process for tribes to establish and strengthen their courts. It's a crucial step towards supporting tribal self-governance and ensuring that tribes have the resources they need to keep their communities safe."


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