Advertisement

Senate OKs Bill to Give Sac and Fox Tribe More Judicial Power

The Meskwaki Tribal Code is available for reference to judges of the Tribal Court in judges'...
The Meskwaki Tribal Code is available for reference to judges of the Tribal Court in judges' chambers at the Meskwaki Tribal Center. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)(KCRG)
Published: Jan. 20, 2016 at 3:40 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The state Senate has passed legislation that would give a Native American tribe in central Iowa more authority over criminal offenses committed on its land.

Lawmakers voted 41-6 Wednesday to give more judicial power to the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, located on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama. The bill now heads to the House.

A federal law approved in 1948 gives the state of Iowa jurisdiction to handle criminal offenses between tribal members on the settlement. This bill aims to switch that power to the tribe.

Sen. Steven Sodders, a State Center Democrat who led the bill, says the tribe has greatly enhanced its criminal justice system. Tribal members say the mixed system of state and tribal oversight leads to dual charges in some instances.