The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved seven bills at a business meeting this afternoon. Four bills were quickly approved without discussion since there were no amendments offered. They were:
• S.1603, the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, a bill to clarify that land already placed in trust for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatami Indians in Michigan can't be challenged under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. The committee held a hearing on May 7.The committee also approved three more bills after amendments were offered. They were:
• S.1818, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe - Fish Springs Ranch Settlement Act, a bill to ratify a water settlement for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Nevada. The committee held a hearing on May 7.
• S.2040, the Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act, a bill to resolve a land settlement with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Idaho. The bill was heard on May 7.
• H.R. 2388, a land-into-trust bill for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in California. The committee has not held a hearing on the bill but it already passed the House after a hearing on July 23, 2013.
• S.1474, the Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act. The bill encourages the state of Alaska to enter into agreements with tribes regarding law enforcement. More significantly, it repeals the Section 910, Special Rule for the State of Alaska from S.47, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, so Alaska tribes can exercise jurisdiction over non-Indian domestic violence offenders. The committee held a hearing on the bill on April 2.Nothing was particularly controversial but Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said the Department of Justice and the state of Alaska have yet to weigh in on S.1474, which she is co-sponsoring. She said their input is necessary as the bill moves forward in the Senate. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the chairman of the committee, offered three non-controversial amendments to S.2132, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments. But another from Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) regarding a set aside of Department of Energy funds for tribes drew objections from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the sponsor of the bill. In the end all four amendments were adopted, as Democrats provided enough yes votes to outweigh Barrasso's no vote on the Udall-authored provision. Finally, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) offered a new version of S.1622, the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. Most of the changes were technical except for an idea offered by Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) to ensure that truancy rates among Native youth are studied. The meeting was not webcast but audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud. Committee Notice:
• S.1622, the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. The bill creates a national commission to study issues affecting American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian youth. The bill was heard on April 2.
• S.2132, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments. The bill encourages tribes to submit tribal energy resource agreements. A hearing took place on May 2.
Business Meeting to consider the following legislation (May 21, 2014) Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee business meeting and hearing (5/19)