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House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Mark Up – January 17, 2024
House committee schedules markup on Indian Country bills
Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The House Committee on Natural Resources is meeting on Wednesday morning to advance two bills of interest in Indian Country.

The first item of interest at the committee’s markup session is H.R.1246. The bill authorizes all federally recognized tribes to lease their trust lands for up to 99 years without having to get approval from the federal government.

Congress has previously enacted similar legislation for 60 individual tribal nations. Passage of H.R.1246 would extend the policy to all tribes — should they choose to lease their lands for economic development and other purposes.

“The Department supports the goal of H.R.1246 to authorize any Indian tribe to lease lands for up 99 years as it would facilitate economic development opportunities and avoid individual tribes having to acquire separate legislation for this purpose,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland from the Department of the Interior said in testimony to the House Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs on March 24, 2023.

The second item of interest is H.R.6443, the Jamul Indian Village Land Transfer Act. The bill places about 171 acres in trust for the Jamul Indian Village, whose 6-acre reservation in southern California is one of the smallest in the United States.

“Additional trust lands are essential to the tribe’s efforts to restore its ancestral land base, to ensure that its most culturally sacred sites are safeguarded, to bring its members, who are now dispersed throughout San Diego County and beyond, home to reside on tribal trust lands, and to provide essential services to its people,” Chairwoman Erica Pinto said in testimony to the subcommittee on December 5.

The lands identified in the bill consist of four separate parcels that are currently owned in fee status by the tribe. Should the properties be taken into trust under H.R.6443, gaming would be prohibited by the bill.

A total of eight bills are on the agenda for the committee’s markup on Wednesday. The session takes place at 10:15am Eastern in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building.

Any bills that are approved at the markup can be sent to the U.S. House of Representatives for further action.

At this point, neither H.R.124 nor H.R.6443 have companion versions in the U.S. Senate. The chamber could take up the House versions of the bills should they advance further in the 118th Congress.

House Committee on Natural Resources Notices
Full Committee Mark Up (January 17, 2024)
Full Committee Mark Up (January 17, 2024)

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