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Tribal Council Drug-test Order Suspended

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Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council who were suspended for not taking a drug test have been reinstated, after a tribal judge struck down the requirement.

In October, the tribal council passed a resolution requiring members and other elected officials to take a "hair follicle" drug test.

The ordinance was in response to the arrest in New Mexico of Councilman Don Garnier, who faces a federal charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it.

Tribal Judge Lisa Adams earlier this month upheld the test for council members but struck down the requirement for the tribe's treasurer.

On Nov. 7, a motion to rescind the drug-test requirement order failed by a vote of 12-2 of the tribal council.

Last week, however, Judge Adams killed the measure "in its entirety for vagueness," according to documents faxed to the Rapid City Journal from the office of Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Steele.

At least 11 tribal officials took the hair-follicle test, as did Steele.

Two council members refused, arguing the council had no authority to pass the ordinance.

Three council members took a urinalysis test for drugs instead.

One council member's test was canceled when the machine malfunctioned, and another couldn't take the test because his hair was too short.

Garnier, who refused the test, remains suspended pending the outcome of charges against him.

It was unclear how many council members had actually been suspended for failing to take the test, but the question apparently is moot.

In a written memo to tribal council members, also faxed to the Journal, Steele said tribal officials suspended were reinstated with pay.

Steele was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)
Copyright: 2007 The Rapid City Journal
Contact: letters@rapidcityjournal.com
Website: RapidCityJournal.com - Rapid City, South Dakota's News Leader » Front
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