The land-into-trust site, also known as Camp 4, in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo: Chumash Facts
National | Politics | Trust

Chumash Tribe still willing to negotiate into land-into-trust agreement with county

A bill to place about 1,400 acres in trust for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is moving forward in the 115th Congress.

The House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R.1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act, at a markup session last month. The bill ratifies a Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to place the land, known as Camp 4, in trust.

The committee approved the measure by unanimous consent, meaning there was no opposition. Both Republicans and Democrats spoke on its favor during the markup, which took place on July 25 and July 26.

Lawmakers noted that the tribe has been trying to negotiate an agreement with Santa Barbara County in California. In a statement quoted by the local media, Chairman Kenneth Kahn said he is still hoping to address taxation, jurisdiction and other issues.

If an agreement is indeed reached, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-California), the sponsor of H.R.1491, said he would include it in the bill when it comes to the House floor for consideration.

"Absolutely. We've hoped all along to have a locally-inputted solution to this," LaMalfa, who serves as the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, said on July 26

The county had to be prodded into talks when an earlier version of the bill came up in the last session of Congress. An agreement, though, has proven elusive despite years of pressure, Rep. Norma Torres (D-California) , the top Democrat on the subcommittee, during the July 25 portion of the markup.

A companion does not exist in the Senate at this point but the chamber could always take up H.R.1491 if it clears the House.

Read More on the Story:
House committee moves Camp 4 trust legislation on to full floor vote (The Santa Maria Times 8/7)
Camp 4 Bill Moves to Full House of Representatives (The Santa Barbara Independent 7/27)

House Committee on Natural Resources Notices:
Full Committee Markup (July 25, 2017)
Full Committee Markup (July 26, 2017)

Related Stories:
House Committee on Natural Resources set to advance more Indian bills (July 24, 2017)
Bill in California offers tax relief for tribal lands going into trust (June 8, 2017)
Chumash Tribe celebrates approval of land-into-trust application (February 1, 2017)