Indian Law Bulletins | U.S. Legislation | 112th Congress (2011-2012)
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Legislation That Became Law in the 112th Congressional Session
Title: HEARTH (Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home ownership) Act of 2011
Sponsors: Rep. Heinrich, Martin [D-NM-1]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-151 (Text of Law: PDF)
Summary: Extends to any Indian tribe the discretion granted under current law only to the Navajo Nation to lease restricted lands for business, agricultural, public, religious, educational, recreational, or residential purposes without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. (The Secretary must still approve the tribal regulations under which those leases are executed and mining leases still require the Secretary's approval.)
Sets forth the environmental review process required under tribal lease regulations before those regulations obtain the Secretary's approval. Requires the process to identify and evaluate any significant effects a proposed lease may have on the environment and allow public comment on those effects. Authorizes the Secretary to provide a tribe, upon the tribe's request, with technical assistance in developing a regulatory environmental review process.
Allows tribes to rely on a federal environmental review process rather than the tribal environmental review process if the project under review is federally funded. Directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to report to Congress on the history and experience of Indian tribes that have chosen to assume the BIA's responsibility for operating the Indian Land Title and Records Office.
Related News and Information: Act seeks more tribal control, shorter waits (Taos News) 8/08/12. Strengthening tribal communities through the HEARTH Act (White House Blog) 7/30/12. President Obama signs HEARTH Act giving Indian tribes more land independence (ABC15.com) 7/30/12. How will the Jobs Act affect Indian Country? (Cherokee One Feather) 9/16/2011. Facilitating the Leasing of Tribal Lands (Friends Committee on National Legislation ) 6/20/2012.
Title:To provide the Quileute Indian Tribe Tsunami and Flood Protection, and for other purposes.
Sponsors: Rep. Dicks, Norman D. [D-WA-6]
Committees: House Natural Resources
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-97 (Bill-Text: PDF)
Summary: Removes certain federal land within Olympic National Park, Washington, that is designated as part of the Olympic Wilderness from inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Takes specified federal land within the Park into trust for the Quileute Indian Tribe. Requires the Secretary of the Interior to take specified nonfederal land owned by the Tribe into trust for the Tribe, upon completion and acceptance of an environmental hazard assessment. Includes those lands taken into trust for the Tribe in the Quileute Indian Reservation. Subjects portions of the federal land conveyed to the Tribe to easements and conditions that preserve the natural condition of the land and provide the public with recreational access to the land and Park. Exempts land conveyed to the Tribe along the southern boundary of the Reservation from any easements or conditions. Allows that land to be altered to allow for the relocation of Tribe members and structures outside the tsunami and Quillayute River flood zones. Extinguishes the Tribe's claims against the United States relating to the Park's past or present ownership, entry, use, surveys, or other activities upon the taking of the lands into trust for the Tribe and a formal Tribal Council resolution. Prohibits gaming on lands taken into trust for the Tribe pursuant to this Act.
Related News and Information: President Signs into Law Cantwell-Backed Bill to Move Quileute Tribe Out of Tsunami Zone (U.S. Fed News) 2/26/12. . Quileute tribal chairwoman to testify to Senate committee about need for higher ground. (Peninsula Daily News) 4/13/2011.
Title: Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011
Sponsors: Rep. Rogers, Harold [R-KY-5]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-10 )Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: (excerpt to highlight relevance) Section 1202 decreases Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies' appropriations for the Office of Tribal Relations.
Section 1273 makes the following provisos included in P.L. 111-80 inapplicable to funds appropriated by this division for water system funds for rural and Native villages in Alaska.
Section 1332 eliminates Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies' appropriations for offender incarceration on tribal lands.
Section 1633 prohibits the use of Firefighter Assistance Grant funding to enforce requirements regarding prohibiting the use of funds provided to fire departments to hire new, additional firefighters to supplant state or local funds or funds supplied by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in the case of Indian tribal governments.
Section 1704 decreases Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies' appropriations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants.
Section 1738 decreases EPA appropriations for state and tribal assistance grants for environmental programs and infrastructure assistance, including: (1) the Clean Water State Revolving Funds; (2) the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds; (3) activities in connection with construction of high priority water and wastewater facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border; (4) grants to Alaska to address the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs of rural and Alaska Native Villages; (5) grants for diesel emissions reduction; (6) grants for media pollution prevention, control and abatement and related activities; and (7) grants for particulate matter monitoring and data collection activities.
Section 1740 rescinds a specified amount of unobligated balances available for EPA for state and tribal assistance grants.
Section 1823 appropriates Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies' funds for congregate nutrition, home-delivered nutrition, and Native American nutrition.
Section 2236 decreases Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies' appropriations for Native American housing block grants.
Section 2259 restricts the use of amounts available for research, evaluation, and program metrics and program demonstrations to the completion of ongoing projects, evaluations, and assessments. (In FY2010 the use of such amounts included mandatory assessment of the housing needs of Native Americans, including sustainable building practices).
Section 8030 authorizes the Secretary of the Air Force to convey to Indian tribes located in Nevada, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Oregon, Minnesota, and Washington relocatable military housing units currently located at Grand Forks, Malmstrom, Mountain Home, Elllsworth, and Minot Air Force Bases that are excess to the needs of the Air Force. Requires the Operation Walking Shield Program to resolve any housing unit conflicts arising after such conveyance.
Title: Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act of 2011
Sponsors: Rep. Peterson, Collin C. [D-MN-7]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-179 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to reimburse the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe for the amount, plus interest, that the Tribe contributed for the payment of attorneys' fees and litigation expenses associated with the litigation of Docket No. 19 and No. 188 before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the distribution of judgment funds. Requires the Tribe's claim for reimbursement of expended funds to be certified by the Tribe as being unreimbursed to it from other funding sources. Requires payment of interest on such funds at the rate of 6% per year from the date such funds were expended until they are reimbursed to the Tribe. Requires use of the judgment funds to reimburse the Tribe for those attorneys' fees and litigation expenses.
Related News and Information: Obama signs Minnesota Chippewa Tribe trust fund bill into law (Indianz.com) 10/09/12. Senate passes three Indian measures during late night session (Indianz.com) 9/24/2012. U.S. House agrees on tribal settlement funds. (The Bemidji Pioneer) 6/20/2012.
Title: Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012
Sponsors: Rep. Aderholt, Robert B. [R-AL-4]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-33 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: (excerpt to highlight relevance) An amendment numbered 18 printed in the Congressional Record to prohibit the use of funds to be used to award a noncompetitively bid contract to an Alaska Native Corporation, Indian Tribe, or Native Hawaiian Organization in an amount in excess of the competitive bidding threshold.
Related News and Information: Appropriations and Continuing Resolutions (Friends Committee on National Legislation ) 10/25/2011.
Title: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012
Sponsors: Rep. Culberson, John Abney [R-TX-7]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-74 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: (excerpt to highlight relevance) Makes appropriations for FY2012 in specified amounts for various purposes to the Smithsonian Institution, including for the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program. It also akes appropriations for FY2012 to EPA for:state and tribal assistance grants for environmental programs and infrastructure assistance, including capitalization grants for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.
The Act rescinds separate, specified amounts within the State and Tribal Assistance Grants account from unobligated Brownfields, Mexico Border, Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, categorical grant, and Clean Water State Revolving Funds balances.
Section 113 requires, beginning July 1, 2008, any funds (except for construction funds) held by a P.L. 100-297 tribally controlled grant school or a P.L. 93-638 tribally controlled contract school, upon retrocession to or re-assumption by the BIE, to remain available for a five-year period for the benefit of the programs approved for such a school on October 1, 1995.
Section 118 revises the prohibition against notification by a financial institution, director, officer, employee, or agent, or by a federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government officer or employee, to any person involved in a suspicious transaction that the transaction has been reported to a government agency. Extends the prohibition to formerly as well as currently employed individuals.
Section 119 exempts certain reports on and records of monetary instruments from disclosure requirements under any state, local, tribal, or territorial "freedom of information," "open government," or law similar to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Section 435 bars the IHS, until October 1, 2013, from disbursing funds for the provision of health care services pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to any Alaska Native village or Alaska Native village corporation located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity. Treats Eastern Aleutian Tribes Inc., the Council of Athabasan Tribal Governments, and the Native Village of Eyak as entities to which funds may be disbursed.
Title: Bridgeport Indian Colony Land Trust, Health, and Economic Development Act of 2011
Sponsors: Rep. McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" [R-CA-25]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-212 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: Declares approximately 39.36 acres of federal land in Mono County, California, to be held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Bridgeport Indian Colony. Prohibits class II or III gaming from being conducted on such lands. Retains the responsibility of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the oversight and renewal of all easements and rights-of-way with the Bridgeport Public Utility District that exist on the date of this Act's enactment.
Title: Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act
Sponsors: Rep. Davis, Geoff [R-KY-4]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-34 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: (excerpted to highlight relevance) Treats as a state any Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium operating a program under SSA title IV part E.
Related News and Information: Congress Approves Tribal Court Improvement Program (Turtle Talk Blog ) 10/5/2011.
Title: Surface and Air Transportation Programs Extension Act of 2011
Sponsors: Rep. Mica, John L. [R-FL-7]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-30 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: (excerpted to highlight relevance) Extends the apportionment of nonurbanized area formula grants for public transportation on Indian reservations.
Title: To allow the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to determine the requirements for membership in that tribe.
Sponsors: Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-7]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-214 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: Makes any U.S. citizen of Pascua Yaqui blood who is enrolled by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe eligible for the federal services and benefits made available to members of federally recognized tribes.
Title: Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act of 2012
Sponsors: Sen. Feinstein, Dianne. [D-CA]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-232 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: Amends the Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2004 to revise the description of the land to be held in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians of California. States that the parcel of private, non-Indian land that is excluded from the revised description was not intended to be held in trust for the Band or considered to be part of its reservation.
Related News and Information: Senate passes three Indian measures during late night session (Indianz.com) 9/24/2012.
Title: Salmon Lake Land Selection Resolution Act
Sponsors: Sen. Murkowski, Lisa. [R-AK]
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-133 (Text of Bill: PDF)
Summary: Ratifies the Salmon Lake Area Land Ownership Consolidation Agreement, which was executed between the United States, the state of Alaska, and the Bering Straits Native Corporation on July 18, 2007. Requires the land conveyance to the Bering Straits Native Corporation to include the reservation of the easements identified in Appendix E to the Agreement that were developed by the parties to the Agreement in accordance with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Directs the Secretary of the Interior to carry out all actions required by the Agreement.