The San Manuel Casino, owned and operated by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in Highland, California, was the first tribal gaming facility subjected to federal labor law. Photo: San Manuel Casino

Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act reportedly moves closer to passage in Senate

Could 2017 finally be the year for the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act?

According to GamblingCompliance, a bill to exempt tribes and their gaming facilities from federal labor law is inching closer to passage in the Senate. Citing a "tribal lobbyist" who wished to remain anonymous, the publication said S.63 is within 2 votes of the 60 needed to move forward in the chamber.

While the measure enjoys support among 52 Republican senators, tribes need at least 8 Democrats or independents to join the cause. In the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence, who has worked with tribes in the past, could be called in to cast a vote because he also serves as president of the Senate.

For decades, tribes didn't have to worry about the National Labor Relations Act. But in 2004, the National Labor Relations Board said tribal businesses -- particularly casinos -- could be subjected to the law because they employ non-Indians and cater to non-Indians.

The same standard doesn't apply to states and local governments. The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act would essentially ensure parity for tribal governments and recognize their right to implement their own labor laws.

The House version of the bill is H.R.986. It cleared the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on June 29 by a vote of 22 to 16.

H.R.986 has not been scheduled for a vote but passage is all but guaranteed in the Republican-controlled House. A prior version cleared the chamber in November 2015.

Read More on the Story:
McCain’s Illness Could Spell Trouble For Tribal Labor Sovereignty Bill (GamblingCompliance 7/25)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Tribal labor law rider killed by wide margin in House (June 27, 2005)
NCAI between 'rock and a hard place' on labor rider (September 13, 2004)
Tribal labor amendment fails in House vote (September 10, 2004)
Federal labor board expands jurisdiction over tribes (June 4, 2004)

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Cronkite News: Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act is back on the agenda (March 30, 2017)
Republican lawmaker renews push for Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (February 14, 2017)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs advances nine bills at first meeting (February 9, 2017)
Senate committee passes Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act once again (February 8, 2017)