USET welcomes new version of fix to land-into-trust decision

Members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee attend a business meeting and oversight hearing on July 29, 2015. Photo by Andrew Bahl for Indianz.Com

The United South and Eastern Tribes is praising Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) for introducing a new version of a bill to fix the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

USET has been calling on Congress to ensure that all tribes can follow the land-into-trust process. Several of its members gained federal recognition in the 1970s and 1980s and face hurdles raised by the high court's 2009 decision.

“That holding had the effect of establishing a class of tribes that could no longer take land into trust, while creating uncertainty with regard to the status of current tribal trust lands,” USET told Indian Country Today.

To address the situation, Barrasso introduced S.1879, the Interior Improvement Act, on July 28. The bill fixes the decision and changes the way the Bureau of Indian Affairs handles land-into-trust applications.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: Senate Indian Affairs Committee Business Meeting to Consider S.383 and S.732

Although USET hasn't outright endorsed the new version, the organization praised Barrasso, the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, for “working together in a bi-partisan fashion in order to achieve a Carcieri fix once and for all," ICT reported.

The committee was due to consider S.732, another version of a Carcieri fix, at a business meeting on July 29. But Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the vice chairman of the committee, withdrew it in light of Barrasso's bill.

Get the Story:
USET Gives a Tentative Thumbs Up to Barrasso’s Carcieri Fix (Indian Country Today 8/5)

Committee Notice:
Business Meeting to Consider S. 383 and S. 732 (July 29, 2015)

DOI Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

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