February 8, 2017

Committee Passes Nine Bills During Business Meeting

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), praised the committee’s expeditious passage of nine pieces of legislation to promote economic development, public safety and preservation of cultural traditions, amongst other purposes.
“All of these bills have been considered and passed by the committee before,” said Chairman Hoeven. “Our work on behalf of Indian Country is too important to delay any further consideration of these bipartisan bills, and we want to advance them to the floor for consideration.”
At the business meeting, the committee passed the following nine pieces of legislation:
·         S. 39, a bill to extend the Federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, and for other purposes;
·         S. 63, a bill to clarify the rights of Indians and Indian tribes on Indian lands under the National Labor Relations Act;
·         S. 91, a bill to amend the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 to facilitate the ability of Indian tribes to integrate the employment, training, and related services from diverse Federal sources, and for other purposes;
·         S. 140, a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund;
·         S. 245, a bill to amend the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self Determination Act of 2005, and for other purposes;
·         S. 249, a bill to provide that the pueblo of Santa Clara may lease for 99 years certain restricted land, and for other purposes;
·         S. 254, a bill to amend the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide flexibility and reauthorization to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages;
·         S. 269, a bill to provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Tanana Tribal Council located in Tanana, Alaska, and to the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation located in Dillingham, Alaska, and for other purposes; and
·         S. 302, the John P. Smith Act, or the Tribal Infrastructure and Roads Enhancement and Safety Act (TIRES Act).
Hoeven highlighted three of the bills and what each sought to accomplish.
Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017:
“I have now introduced S.245, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017. It is co-sponsored by Senators Barrasso, McCain, Heitkamp, Lankford, and Moran. It would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 so tribes can exercise self-determination in developing their energy resources on their lands.
“…This [bill] has been passed by the committee before…and it was actually included in the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016.”
Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2017:
“S.63, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2017, was introduced by Senator Moran and co-sponsored by Senators McCain, Crapo, Daines, Lankford, Flake, Gardner, Johnson, Risch, Rounds, Thune, and Wicker. This bill is intended to provide clarity and parity to tribes by treating them as governments, on par with state and federal governments, by the National Labor Relations Board.”
The John P. Smith Act, or the Tribal Infrastructure and Roads Enhancement and Safety Act (TIRES Act):
“S.302, the John P. Smith Act, is a bill of special significance, introduced by Senator Barrasso and co-sponsored by Senator Crapo.”
Hoeven then stressed the importance of committee members working together to further Indian Affairs legislation in the 115th Congress.
“I want to emphasize that we want to work in a bipartisan manner to advance as much of this legislation, and additional legislation, as we can,” said Chairman Hoeven. “…With the challenges facing Indian communities, this committee must work together particularly when our bills are advancing through the full Senate…and also the House.” 
Click here to watch full video of the business meeting.