Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) addresses the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., on February 14, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Republican sponsor of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act benefits from gaming interests

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) has received more than $163,000 in donations from Indian gaming interests since 2015, The Associated Press reports.

According to the AP, the donations came only after Rokita became the sponsor of H.R.986, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. The bill exempts tribes and their businesses -- especially casinos -- from federal labor law.

"Native Americans in Indiana and elsewhere, support Todd because they know he fights for them including taking on union bosses hell-bent on exploiting poor Native American workers who historically haven't had a voice before Congress," Rokita's chief of staff Mark Cruz, who is a citizen of the Klamath Tribes and is one of the few Native American staffers on Capitol Hill, told the AP.

The House passed the bill on Wednesday after including it in S.140, an unrelated tribal water bill. It faces an uncertain future in the Senate due to opposition from Democrats, who are typically allied with labor unions.

Prior to 2004. tribes never had to worry about the National Labor Relations Act. But that year, the National Labor Relations Board said tribal casinos and other businesses could be subject to the law because they employ non-Indians and cater to non-Indians.

H.R.986 treats tribes in a manner similar to states and local governments, which are not subject to the labor law.

Read More on the Story:
Casino interests gave to Indiana’s Rokita as he pushed bill (The Associated Press January 11, 2018)

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)

Related Stories:
Cronkite News: White Mountain Apache water bill sidetracked in partisan fight (January 12, 2018)
Republicans stir drama by reviving contentious Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (January 11, 2018)