What you need to know about the latest bid to restore sovereignty to Maine’s tribes

AUGUSTA, Maine — After months of negotiations, the most recent effort to restore some sovereignty to Maine tribes will get its first trial in the Legislature.

Friday will mark the first of two days of hearings in the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on a bill that incorporates most of the 22 proposed changes to state law made by the Maine Indian Claims Task Force. They could change tribal relations in Maine going forward, encompassing taxation, fishing, hunting, natural resources, gambling and criminal jurisdiction.

The latter topic became more complicated Thursday, when tribes and the administration of Gov. Janet Mills continued to butt heads over a key domestic violence bill. Major sticking points are the scope of native jurisdiction and who could be charged with domestic violence.

The issue of tribal sovereignty is complicated and emotional, and stretches back more than 40 years. Here’s what you need to know as the recommendations hit the Legislature.

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