A totem in Sitka, Alaska. Photo: Andrew Malone
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House committee schedules markup on Alaska Native health and Oregon tribal bills




The House Committee on Natural Resources is meeting this week to take action on more than a dozen bills.

Two Indian bills, one helping Alaska Natives with a health facility and the other benefiting tribes in Oregon, are on the agenda for the markup session. They follow:
S.825, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act. The bill authorizes the transfer of property owned by the Indian Health Service to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. The land will be used to build a new health facility in Sitka, Alaska, to replace one that is nearly 70 years old. Similar legislation has been passed for other tribal groups in the state.
S.1285, the Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act. The bill ensures the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians can lease, sell or otherwise transfer their fee lands without federal interference. Congress has passed similar legislation for other tribes in the past.

S.825 and S.1285 already passed the Senate so the markup this week represents significant progress.

“We’re working to pass commonsense, bipartisan measures for Indian Country,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said on November 30, when S.825 and S.1285 were among 9 Indian bills that cleared the Senate by unanimous consent.

The markup in the House Committee on Natural Resources begins on Tuesday afternoon and concludes on Wednesday morning. After the committee takes action, the bills can be sent to the House for final passage.

So far in the 115th Congress, which began in January, lawmakers have sent just one stand-alone Indian bill to President Donald Trump. H.R.228, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act, makes a number of improvements to the 477 program, which helps tribes find jobs for their citizens.

As of Sunday, the White House had not said whether Trump will be signing H.R.228 into law.

House Committee on Natural Resources Notices:
Full Committee Markup on 16 Bills (December 12, 2017)
Full Committee Markup on 16 Bills (December 13, 2017)

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Senate Committee on Indian Affairs set to advance three bills at business meeting (September 11, 2017)
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