indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
House leader vows fight against tobacco tax bill
Wednesday, February 4, 2004

The Congressional Native American Caucus will work to kill tobacco tax legislation that opens up tribes to state jurisdiction, a key House lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the Democratic co-chair of the caucus, said there were efforts underway to defeat H.R.2824, the Internet Tobacco Sales Enforcement Act. At the impact week meeting of the the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), he called the bill an intrusion on tribal sovereignty.

"It's contrary not only to the Constitution, it's contrary to specific federal law," Kildee told tribal leaders who gathered in the Washington, D.C., area.

Agreeing was Mark Van Norman, the executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), the largest inter-tribal gaming organization. He said the bill has "far-reaching effects" because it authorizes states to enforce their laws in Indian Country.

But the harshest provision, he said, would allow states to bring lawsuits, in federal court, against "persons" who try to avoid state tobacco taxes. The bill defines "persons" to include tribal governments and Indian retailers, and it toughens civil fines and criminal penalties for alleged violators.

"So that means the state attorney general, they don't go to the federal government and say let's sit down on a government-to-government basis," he said, "they take you into federal court."

The House Judiciary Committee passed H.R.2824 by a voice vote last week. In response to tribal complaints, lawmakers included a "savings clause" that attempts to protect tribes that have tobacco tax agreements with states. But Van Norman said the language doesn't go far enough to protect tribal sovereignty.

Kildee said Indian Country advocates are working to kill the offensive language. He also said Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) -- whom he called "a great defender of sovereignty" -- has asked for a referral to the House Resources Committee.

Pombo chairs the Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over Indian issues. So far, all of the work on the bill has been done by the Judiciary Committee.

"The House Judiciary Committee should know the Constitution, should know what federal laws are on the books -- those acts date back to 1790 -- they should know that," Kildee said.

From the tribal end, Van Norman said lobbyists want to bring the House Commerce Committee into negotiations because the bill redefines inter-state commerce to include Indian lands.

The Senate version of the bill, known as the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, was passed in December. Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman and vice-chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, were able to remove the language that would have abrogated tribal sovereign immunity.

But provisions related to state enforcement remain. Tribal advocates are worried these could be interpreted to apply not only to Indian-owned Internet businesses but to brick-and-mortar shops as well.

Supporters of the bill include anti-smoking groups, tobacco manufacturers, law enforcement and convenience store owners. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids believes it will prevent youth from smoking. American Indian and Alaska Native teens have the highest rate of tobacco use among all ethnic and racial groups.

This coalition makes it harder for tribes to press their views, Van Norman said. "It's a tougher situation now," he said. "No one wants to see kids smoking. We don't want to see people doing wrongful things against the American government."

"But we do want to preserve tribal sovereignty. We do need to preserve tribal sovereign immunity," he said.

Get the Bills:
Internet Tobacco Sales Enforcement Act (H.R.2824) | PACT Act (S.1177)

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians - http://www.ncai.org
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids - http://www.tobaccofreekids.org

Related Stories:
Tobacco tax bill has broad group of supporters (2/2)
Tobacco tax bill still poses challenges for Indian Country (12/16)
Tribes left out of Internet and cigarette tax bills (11/19)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribes rest easy as Supreme Court wraps up a surprising session (6/24)
Tribes in northern California take action to protect salmon runs (6/24)
Aaron Payment re-elected as chairman of Sault Ste. Marie Tribe (6/24)
Gun Lake Tribe hosts annual Sweet Grass Moon Powwow in July (6/24)
Native Sun News: First Native hockey referee 'Butchy' passes on (6/24)
Delphine Red Shirt: Lakota people denied voting rights on our land (6/24)
Ruth Hopkins: Saving sacred Bear Butte from a massive biker bar (6/24)
Terese Mailhot: Becoming a better ally after the Orlando shooting (6/24)
April Youpee-Roll: Elizabeth Warren owes more to Indian Country (6/24)
Another land-into-trust fix reportedly being drafted in the Senate (6/24)
Federal charges filed in kidnapping of girl on Fort Peck Reservation (6/24)
Non-Indian charged for trespassing at Nambe Pueblo in New Mexico (6/24)
St. Croix Chippewa Tribe warned not to launch marijuana operation (6/24)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe breaks ground on $34M expansion at casino (6/24)
Non-Indian gaming firm loses challenge to law for new tribal casino (6/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes to finish demolition work at site of old racetrack (6/24)
Supreme Court deadlocks in closely-watched tribal jurisdiction case (6/23)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Huge win' for Mississippi Choctaw court system (6/23)
Native American Basketball Invitational draws top talent to Arizona (6/23)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe almost done with long-awaited theater (6/23)
Susanville Rancheria thanks lawmakers for help with land-into-trust (6/23)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on three bills (6/23)
Supreme Court backs affirmative action policy in long-running case (6/23)
Native Sun News: Senate committee takes on Indian Health Service (6/23)
Mark Trahant: A Republican plan to terminate Indian Health Service (6/23)
James Giago Davies: Welfare for corporations but nothing for tribes (6/23)
Peter d'Errico: Justice Clarence Thomas critiques federal Indian law (6/23)
Two charged for beating and setting woman from Crow Tribe on fire (6/23)
White House defends fracking regulation imposed on Indian lands (6/23)
Mescalero Apache woman hosts fundraiser for Miss United States (6/23)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to collect sales tax on entire reservation (6/23)
Seneca-Cayuga Nation ordered to conduct another council election (6/23)
Poarch Creek land-into-trust bill could help casino effort in Florida (6/23)
Cherokee Nation enters deal to run commercial casino in Arkansas (6/23)
Tohono O'odham Nation told to turn over casino-related documents (6/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee debates marijuana & sovereignty (6/22)
Major trust reform bill supported by Indian Country signed into law (6/22)
President Obama signs land-into-trust bill for Susanville Rancheria (6/22)
Chairman Jim Boyd from Colville Tribes passes away at age of 60 (6/22)
Tribes take more control of their land with HEARTH Act regulations (6/22)
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community adds another 128 acres (6/22)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge Reservation graduates celebrate (6/22)
Native Sun News: Year of Reconciliation sees another anniversary (6/22)
Former Fond du Lac Band chairman Peter Defoe passes on at 77 (6/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.