On Wednesday April 29, 2015 the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is going to have a hearing on The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act S.248. The bill is designed to treat tribes and their enterprises like states and local governments with regards to Federal Labor law. The bill is designed to overturn a 2004 ruling that stated the National Labor Relations Board had jurisdiction over Indian areas.

Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas said, “It is not the place of the federal government to impinge upon the authority of the sovereign tribes. Tribal governments alone, accountable to their people, should decide the labor practices for the entities they own on their lands.”

Moran also said that the bill is meant to provide this authority to them. The 2004 ruling provided jurisdiction power over tribal facilities in California, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Various tribes have tried to fit the court ruling and now feel this new bill S.248 is the best way they can protect their sovereignty.

The bill is not simple though. It has some controversial points. Democrats already defeated an early 2005 version in the House and have not considered any reissue or changes to the bill. Republicans are now in control of the Senate and House, which is one reason there is hope the bill will pass after the hearing on Wednesday at Room 628 in the Senate Driksen Office Building at 2:30pm.