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...

Latest Headlines:

WNV: Puyallup Tribe enters battle against natural gas terminal in Washington
Mark Trahant: Learning from history to see why the Trump presidency is over
Harold Monteau: Donald Trump needs White supremacists to remain in office
Trump defends groups 'innocently' protesting removal of Confederate statue
New York Times turns to Native Americans for Conversation on Race project
Crow Tribe votes on potential changes to constitution despite court decision
Grand Traverse Band wasn't consulted about visit by Columbus replica ships
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate celebrates release of bald eagle that had been shot
Klamath Tribes break ground on hotel as part of long-term casino expansion
Wilton Rancheria continues to see litigation over casino project in California
Energy firm seeks to keep illegal pipeline in place over objections of landowners
North Dakota secures $10 million in federal funds to pay for #NoDAPL response
Arne Vainio: Tough patient turns out to be a warrior with a promise to his brother
Mary Annette Pember: True Sioux Hope Foundation brings donors to Pine Ridge
Steve Russell: Poverty in Indian Country -- and in America -- is really about race
Dakota Access Pipeline dragging out dispute over disturbance of tribal artifacts
Trump offers late rebuke to 'White supremacists' as industry leaders quit council
Seneca Nation citizen maintains 5-year protest against NFL team's racist legacy
Oneida Nation starts construction of third casino as outlet mall remains on hold
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe still confident as Trump team reviews casino plan
Tribes report mixed results in slot machine revenues at casinos in Connecticut
Trump administration abandons tribes in battle over boundaries of reservation
Yurok Tribe forced to rely on outside salmon again as yearly festival approaches
Zenobia Jeffries: Media must be honest about planned race riot in Charlottesville
DVIDS: Military partnership brings health care to Round Valley Indian Reservation
Sandra LaFleur: Let's return to our traditions by restoring power to Native women
Harold Monteau: Democrats need to get their act together in new election season
Northern Arapaho Tribe reclaims remains of students who died at Carlisle school
Elouise Cobell's family brings Presidential Medal of Freedom to Blackfeet Nation
Department of Justice opens civil rights investigation into Charlottesville death
Muscogee Nation issues citizenship to former police officer accused of murder
Tim Giago: Broken treaties remain among America's deepest and darkest secrets
Oglala Sioux Tribe secures restitution for funds stolen by former district official
Appeals court schedules hearing in long-running Mechoopda Tribe gaming case
Pit boss and patron plead in blackjack scam at Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate casino
Doug Steiger: Reform the Indian Health Service by looking at tribal success stories
Young indigenous activist fights Trump administration in climate change lawsuit
Kialegee Tribal Town warned not to engage in gaming on allotment in Oklahoma
Mark Trahant: Prepare for a big mess when Congress returns to work in September
Cronkite News: Most Native families aren't speaking their own languages at home
Agua Caliente Band faces opposition from states as high court weighs water case
Crow Tribe mourns shooting victims as details remain scarce about triple homicide
Non-Indian man sentenced to life in prison for murder, assault on Crow Reservation
Aquinnah Wampanoag citizen aims to make history with Massachusetts campaign
Cherokee Nation ready to move forward with opioid lawsuit in tribal court system
Wiyot Tribe questions attempt to buy ancestral island that was site of massacre
Southern Ute Tribe offers $1 million matching grant for KSUT public radio station
Jim Cooper: Wilton Rancheria casino brings benefits to everyone in our community
Sara Trechter: County wastes more than $600,000 battling Mechoopda Tribe casino
Anticipation builds as Indian Country calls for shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline
Brian Lightfoot Brown: Welcome to the oldest recorded powwow in North America
Cronkite News: Backlogs at immigration courts reach a record high in Trump era
Mary Annette Pember: School offers safe place for girls on Pine Ridge Reservation
Alex Jacobs: Beware the new 'tribalism' in American politics with Donald Trump
Muscogee Nation welcomes decision affirming the boundaries of its reservation
Crow Tribe weighs stronger response after site of triple homicide burns to ground
White Earth Nation looks to diversify economy with first hemp crop on reservation
Nooksack Tribe loses federal health care funds as disenrollment drama drags on
Miccosukee Tribe can't be sued by attorneys who received $4 million settlement
Mapuche activists evicted from land protest on ancestral territory in Argentina
Casino opponents ask Supreme Court to hear Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe case
Ho-Chunk Nation outlines optimistic schedule for stalled off-reservation casino
Seneca Nation plans meeting with state to discuss future of gaming compact
Chukchansi Tribe secures dismissal of lawsuit seeking $21 million from casino
Muscogee Nation citizen wins reversal of death penalty conviction in Oklahoma
Morongo Band enters into agreement to assist tribal veterans with housing loans
Senate approves bill to designate clinic in honor of late veteran Joe Medicine Crow
>>> 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.