Editorial: Don't restore Miccosukee sovereignty
"When someone commits a crime or is involved in an accident in Florida, it is generally understood that the state has jurisdiction and will proceed with whatever investigation, charge, penalty or punishment is warranted. This clear delineation of authority would be jeopardized if legislation sponsored by Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, becomes law -- and the consequences would be serious and far-reaching.

The Miccosukees have limited sovereignty on their lands, but even those rights don't trump state laws. This is why Miccosukees can vote in state elections, apply to the state for a driver's license and be charged with a crime under state law. Sen. Wilson's bill would change state law to give Indian tribes in Florida even more authority than that asserted by the Miccosukees in the Furry traffic case.

The senator said that the bill is an attempt to give Indian tribes in Florida the same level of sovereignty that tribes have in other states. When told about Ms. Furry's situation, Sen. Wilson said she would review the proposal to determine if it goes too far.

The tragic death of Tatiana Furry shows that things can go badly awry even when there are clear delineations between state governance and tribal sovereignty. Sen. Wilson's proposal would make a muddle of those distinctions in both civil and criminal matters every place in Florida where Indian tribes claim sovereignty. Sen. Wilson should withdraw the bill. "

Get the Story:
Editorial: Bill would make a muddle of state law (The Miami Herald 2/23)

Related Stories:
Second fatal accident involving Miccosukee driver (2/20)