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Jerry M.
Republican KS

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  • Unanimous Consent Request—S. 248

    by Senator Jerry Moran

    Posted on 2015-12-17

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    MORAN. Mr. President, I wish to address my colleagues on the National Labor Relations Act. It was enacted in 1935, and that legislation exempted Federal, State, and local governments but did not explicitly mention Native American governments from the provisions of the act. As a matter of sovereignty, Indian tribes--tribes across the country--should be excluded from the provisions of the NLRB. For 70 years, the NLRB honored the sovereign status, and it accorded them the rights they are entitled to under the Constitution of the United States.

    Beginning in 2004, however, the NLRB reversed its treatment of tribes and legally challenged those tribes in regard to the NLRB. The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, which I introduced and passed in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in a bipartisan way, is simple.

    The National Labor Relations Act is amended to provide that any enterprise or institution owned or operated by an Indian tribe and located on tribal lands is not subject to the NLRA. This is not a labor issue. This is a sovereignty issue. The narrow legislation protects tribal sovereignty and gives tribal governments the ability to make the best decisions possible for their people. This legislation seeks to treat tribal governments no differently than other units of local government, counties, and cities. As I said, this legislation not only passed the Senate committee, but similar legislation passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote.

    The late Senator Inouye of Hawaii wrote in 2009: ``Congress should affirm the original construction of NLRA by expressly including Indian tribes in the definition of an employer.'' This bill presents Congress with an opportunity to reaffirm the constitutional status of sovereignty that tribes are entitled to under the supreme law of our land.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 220, S. 248 and that the bill be read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

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