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Tribal policing debate: ‘Ghosts and goblins’

When Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, tried to suggest that the Coeur d'Alene Tribe will take people's guns if they come onto the reservation with concealed weapons permits, Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, gave a blistering rebuttal. When the NRA brought up an “11th hour” concern, Nonini said, the tribal council held an emergency meeting this week and changed its tribal code. “There are ghosts and goblins out there that people are trying to come up with … that don't exist,” Nonini said.

Rep. Julie Ellsworth, R-Boise, noted that there have been other places - she cited an instance in Michigan - where federal law has been invoked, and people had to deal with questions about fishing licenses and the like in federal court. That's not what Idaho wants, Ellsworth said. She said concerns that have been raised about tribal law and civil offenses have nothing to do with the bill, HB 111, which is about criminal offenses. The tribe can issue civil citations right now, for things like zoning regulations or hunting license issues. “They have the ability to do that right now,” she said. “This debate is used to confuse. Because you see, if we don't act, all that goes on anyway. The new law clarifies that it will go to state court.” She said, “We are not going to change a single thing about that tribal court by voting against this bill. This bill clarifies you will be in state court when you are pulled over by a tribal officer.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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