ITG FAQ #4 Answer-What is Public Law 280?


Congress enacted Public Law 83-280 (PL 280) in 1953, delegating limited jurisdiction over Indian Country to several states (CA, MN, NE, OR, and WI. AK was added in 1958). The optional states (AZ, FL, ID, IA, MT, NV, ND, UT, and WA) assumed all or part of the jurisdiction offered. Amended in 1968, PL 280 permitted states to retrocede jurisdiction to the federal government, and provided that no states in the future could assume jurisdiction without tribal consent. As a consequence, there has been almost no expansion of PL 280 jurisdiction since 1968. In a number of states where it is still in effect, PL 280 presents jurisdictional questions of considerable complexity.

Return to List of FAQs