Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill on Wednesday, May 22, that allows the Prairie Island Indian Community to maintain a police department without the approval of the Goodhue County sheriff.
Before the exception became law, the tribal leadership had to be in agreement with the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office in order to maintain a tribal police department.
The Republican Eagle reported in earlier in the 2019 legislative session that Jessie Stomski Seim, general counsel for the Prairie Island Indian Community, stated that this is "about eliminating the risk that a county and a tribe get into some disagreements and the county having the trump card. One has the upper hand and the ability to turn off the lights of the other."
Rep.Barb Haley, R-Red Wing, was one of six authors of the bill in the Minnesota House.
"After consulting all of the stakeholders, I was pleased to support this bill that codifies the Prairie Island Indian Community's sovereign right to provide for the safety of its members, visitors, and casino customers. The PIIC police force has an excellent reputation, a good working relationship with local law enforcement agencies, and proven capabilities, and therefore the Legislature as a whole passed this provision with broad bipartisan support," she said.
Sen. Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing, was one of four authors in the Senate.
"(I) had to make sure they were ready for that responsibility and they definitely were," Goggin told the Republican Eagle.
The bill passed 58-7 in the Senate and 122-8 in the House.