Opinion: California bill gives tribes too much power
"Perhaps you were wondering why there was a letter printed in its entirety addressed to the Director of the California Department of Conservation, Ms. Bridgett Luther from the “Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.”

I have mentioned before the bill being presented in the California Legislature titled S.B. 170. This was the bill that was an attempt to give authority to Indian tribes or tribal groups to cancel Williamson Act contracts on land they purchase removing any “encumbrance” that would prevent them from then taking that property through the fee-to-trust process thereby taking it off the property tax roles.

Fortunately, this bill was killed although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it reappear sometime. An identical version was submitted and sponsored by the same people last year and was also killed promptly. Although the discussions about this bill focused on the impact to agriculture, there were even more serious implications as evidenced by this letter and thus the reason for you to see it yourself.

What is particularly bad about this effort to change the law is that not only is a change to the Williamson Act proposed, but eminent domain ability is also asked for.

In effect, it is being proposed that any Indian tribe or “tribal group” whatever that means, be able like any governmental body, to condemn another person’s property and take it for various developments determined to be a public use."

Get the Story:
Nancy Crawford-Hall: ON THE RANCH (The Santa Ynez Valley Journal 4/23)

Also Today:
TRIBE GAVE BILL SPONSOR $12,000 (The Santa Ynez Valley Journal 4/23)

Related Stories:
California lawmakers take up controversial tribal bill (4/17)

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