Public Law 280 (1953) transferred jurisdiction of Indian Country from the federal government to the state governments of Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The law grants mandatory civil and criminal jurisdiction of offenses committed by or against Indians in Indian Country to these six state authorities. The passage of the law did not require tribes to consent to the transfer of authority nor did it increase financial support to state governments.
Following the passage of PL280, several states also opted to expand criminal jurisdiction of Indian Country. These include: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington.
PL280 has significantly impacted the division of authority between federal, state, and tribal governments in Indian Country. While PL280 did not explicitly reduce or expand tribal criminal jurisdiction, the law has had an adverse effect in Indian Country because it is often misinterpreted by each level of government, resulting in confusion and opposition. In addition, the Department of the Interior has cited PL280 as a justification for decreasing law enforcement funding for the tribes in PL280 states.
Hostility between Native Americans and law enforcement officers has also resulted from PL280. According to one study, state or county police serving PL280 reservations are rated by their residents as less available, slower in response time, less prone to equally attend to minor or serious calls, provide less beneficial patrolling services, are less willing to act without authority, more frequently decline services owing to remoteness, and are located farther away than federal-BIA and tribal police on non-PL280 reservations.