Statute And Regulation Drafting

Practice Area

The attorneys at Brad S. Jolly & Associates have drafted numerous pieces of legislation for review and enactment by tribal legislative bodies as well as regulations for tribal agencies to adopt. Our attorneys have also helped tribes develop codification systems to provide for uniform and organized maintenance of tribal enactments and regulations. Some of the subject matter we have written legislation and regulations for are:

  • Codes governing tribal holidays, codification of ordinances, declaring and defining the law applicable within the territory of the tribe, and other general matters
  • Administrative ordinances governing tribal agencies and departments, including administrative procedure acts and the establishment of new tribal agencies and departments
  • Tribal court and other dispute resolution codes
  • Election ordinances governing petitions, recall, special elections, general elections, and election disputes
  • Employment ordinances, including Indian hiring preferences and establishment of general tribal employment law
  • Workers' compensation ordinances
  • Gaming ordinances establishing tribal gaming enterprises as well as tribal gaming agencies and commissions and tribal criminal gambling laws
  • Law and order ordinances establishing tribal police departments and setting forth tribal crimes
  • Natural resources ordinances, including hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering
  • Property codes governing tribal land assignments, leasing, mortgage and foreclosure, eviction, rights-of-way, and repossession of personal property
  • Domestic violence ordinances
  • Ordinances establishing tribal sanitary districts
  • Tax administration ordinances
  • Ordinances setting forth statutes of limitations on actions in Tribal Court
  • Ordinances governing tribal sovereign immunity
  • Ordinances governing the exclusion of non-members from the reservation

In drafting legislation for tribes, we stress ensuring that the final product is something that will work for the tribe by utilizing existing tribal structures and practices to ensure that the code accurately reflects the needs and purpose of the community and actually works for the community. We believe that a tribal code should, when possible, reflect a tribe's custom and traditions and, at a minimum, be consistent with those customs and traditions. In developing tribal legislation, we believe it is important and beneficial to incorporate and consider the input of tribal leadership and, with the approval of the tribal leadership, the input of the tribe's membership.

The enactment of tribal ordinances is a fundamental exercise of tribal sovereignty and self-government. A tribal code is the law of the tribe which governs its territory, its members, and others within the tribe's jurisdiction and, as such, should never be approached lightly or without the utmost careful drafting and consideration. Our approach to drafting tribal codes reflects this and we work to ensure a tribal code is comprehensive enough to anticipate future contingencies and clear enough to reduce the potential for litigation regarding the interpretation and application of the code. In addition, as with all work Brad S. Jolly & Associates performs for Indian nations, the codes we draft begin with the first principles of protecting tribal sovereignty and self-government.