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Legislative and Administrative Update

March 1, 2019

Legislative Update

Vote Expected This Week: Eric Miller Nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

 

Upcoming Hearings

House Education and Labor Subcommittee Hearing on Classrooms in Crisis

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Hearing on the Future of the VA

SCIA to Receive Testimony on Native American Programs Act and ANA

House Appropriations to Hold Hearing on FY 2020 Tribal Program Funding

 

Administrative Update

Deadline for Submitting Tribal Self-Governance Applications for FY and CY 2020

DOI Reschedules Consultations in Alaska

USDA Publishes Proposed Rule Regarding SNAP Work Requirement Waivers

Army and EPA to Hold Public Meetings to Discuss Proposed Rule for WOTUS

HUD Seeks Comments on Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Regulations

NAGPRA Review Committee Seeks Nominations

USDA Launches Program to Create High-Speed Internet e-Connectivity

Congressional Update
Re-Nomination of Eric Miller to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Mr. Miller’s re-nomination has been opposed by NCAI and more than 50 tribal nations and organizations. NCAI recently passed a resolution strongly opposing Miller’s nomination. NCAI and the Native American Rights Fund also sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 21, 2018 that examined Mr. Miller’s record on tribal issues. Mr. Miller has sided against tribal interests in a laundry list of cases and has consistently made arguments intended to diminish tribal sovereignty. He has attempted to explain his record by saying that he was simply a lawyer representing his clients and the positions taken do not necessarily reflect his personal views. However, this fails to explain why he took several anti-tribal cases on a pro bono basis, which means he agreed to work on those cases without being paid.

 

The Ninth Circuit includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. There are 427 federally recognized tribal nations in the Ninth Circuit, more than any other federal court of appeals. Because the Ninth Circuit hears more tribal cases than any other, it is a leader in the field of federal Indian law and it feeds more tribal cases into the Supreme Court than any other circuit court. A nominee like Eric Miller should be strongly opposed by tribal nations and all Native people.

 

The Senate is expected to hold a vote on his nomination this week. We urge tribal nations to continue to weigh in with their senators and the Senate Judiciary Committee to let them know that Eric Miller should not be confirmed for a lifetime seat on this important court, and that we expect individuals nominated for federal judgeships to respect and uphold tribal rights. NCAI has prepared a sample tribal resolution and a sample tribal letter of opposition for tribal nations to use in their opposition efforts. Please notify NCAI if your tribal nation sends a letter or resolution.

 

To view the executive business meeting, please click here.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Virginia Davis, Senior Advisorvdavis@ncai.org

Upcoming Hearings
House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
Hearing on “Classrooms in Crisis: Examining the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint Practices.”
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
10:00 a.m. EST
2175 Rayburn House Office Building
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Rescheduled Hearing on “VA 2030: A Vision for the Future of VA.”
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
2:00 p.m. EST
Longworth 1334
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Oversight Hearing on the “45th Anniversary of the Native American Programs Act and the establishment of the Administration for Native Americans.”
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
2:30 p.m. EST
Dirksen 628
 House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee Hearing on FY2020 Appropriations for Tribal Programs
Thursday, March 7, 2019
TBD

 

Administration Update
Deadline for Submitting Tribal Self-Governance Applications for FY and CY 2020

Deadline: March 1, 2019

 

On February 21, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Self-Governance issued a notice of application deadline for tribal nations and tribal consortia to submit applications to begin participation in the tribal self-governance program in fiscal year 2020 or calendar year 2020.

 

Completed application packages should be sent to Ms. Sharee M. Freeman, Director, Office of Self-Governance, Department of the Interior, Mail Stop 2071-MIB, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240. 

 

For more information, please contact Dr. Kenneth D. Reinfield, Office of Self-Governance, via telephone at (703) 390-6551.

 

For more further information and the full Federal Register notice, please click here.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Jacob Schellinger, Director of Government Affairsjschellinger@ncai.org

The Department of the Interior Reschedules Consultations in Alaska

 

In January, the Department of the Interior (DOI) postponed the two remaining consultations in its review of the Alaska Indian Reorganization Act (Alaska IRA) and the Alaska land-into trust process because of the federal government shutdown. The initial consultations were scheduled to occur on January 16 and January 17 in Bethel and Kotzebue, AK.

 

According to its most recent February 4, 2019 Dear Tribal Leader Letter, the final two consultations will now occur on March 5 and March 7 at the following locations:

 

Alaska IRA Tribal Consultation Tuesday, March 5, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center

420 Chief Eddie Highway

Bethel, AK  99559

Land-into-Trust in Alaska Tribal
Consultation
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center

420 Chief Eddie Highway

Bethel, AK  99559

Alaska IRA Tribal Consultation Thursday, March 7, 2019 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Northwest Arctic Heritage Center

171 Third Avenue

Kotzebue, AK  99752

Land-into-Trust in Alaska Tribal Consultation Thursday, March 7, 2019 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Northwest Arctic Heritage Center

171 Third Avenue

Kotzebue, AK  99752

 

Comment Deadline Extended

 

In addition, the comment deadline to respond to these consultations is extended from January 25, 2019 to March 15, 2019. Comments may be submitted to consultation@bia.gov.

 

NCAI, along with the Native American Rights Fund, a number of tribal nations and tribal organizations submitted comments on January 25, 2019.

 

For more information, please visit DOI’s Office of Regulatory Affairs’ website.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Derrick Beetso, General Counsel, dbeetso@ncai.org

USDA Publishes Proposed Rule Regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

Comments Due April 2, 2019

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published a proposed rule that modifies standards for waivers that allow able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for more than three months in a 36-month period regardless of their work status. The proposed rule encourages broader application of the statutory ABAWD work requirements.

 

FNS also proposes ending unlimited carryover of ABAWD exemptions, which can be used by states to extend SNAP eligibility of ABAWDs subject to the time limit as provided by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. The proposed rule would limit the number of exemptions available to states each year.

 

Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or may be mailed to Certification Policy Branch, Program Development Division, FNS, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302.

To view the proposed rule, please click here.

NCAI Contact Info: Ashleigh Fixico, Wilma Mankiller Policy Fellow, afixico@ncai.org

Army and EPA to Hold Public Meetings to Discuss Proposed Rule for the Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”

Comments Due April 15, 2019

 

On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) signed the proposed “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States'” (WOTUS) rule and have scheduled opportunities for tribal nations to engage with the agencies regarding the proposed WOTUS rule through discussion forums and webcasts.

 

The agencies have also scheduled discussion forums for tribal leaders on the proposed revised WOTUS rule during the anticipated comment period. The scheduled discussions have three primary purposes: (1) to present the proposed revised definition of “waters of the United States” and address clarifying questions from co-regulators; (2) to hear initial feedback on the proposal from co-regulators; and (3) to allow robust discussion of implementation considerations and the potential for mapping “waters of the United States.”

 

Three half-day discussion forums for tribal leaders and tribal representatives will be held at the following locations:

 

Location Date For more information
Kansas City, Kansas February 27, 2019 Additional Information, please click here.
Atlanta, Georgia March 12, 2019 TBD
Albuquerque, New Mexico March 27, 2019 TBD

 

Tribal leaders and tribal representatives interested in attending one of the discussion forums should send an email indicating their interest to wotus-outreach@epa.gov.

 

The EPA and Army will consult with individual tribal nations upon request. Tribal leaders may request consultation with the agencies on the proposed rule by contacting cwawotus@epa.gov.

 

If tribal leaders have any other questions, please contact Rose Kwok at  kwok.rose@epa.gov or Cindy Barger at cindy.s.barger.civ@mail.mil.

 

For more information and to view the proposed rule, please click here.

 

To view the Dear Tribal Leader letter, please click here.

 

To submit comments, please click here.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Darren Modzelewski, Policy Counseldmodzelewski@ncai.org

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Seeks Comments on Draft Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Regulations

 

On November 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a Dear Tribal Leader letter seeking tribal input on the regulations for the Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee program.

 

HUD is currently revising the regulations for the Section 184 program and seeks comments on draft Subpart B and draft Subpart C. Once HUD has drafted the complete set of proposed regulations, they will send another copy of the draft proposed rule to tribal nations for comment via a “Dear Tribal Leader letter” with a 60-day comment period. Once this tribal comment period is over and any comments received are considered, HUD will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public comment.

 

Please email comments to 184consultation@hud.gov.

 

To view the Dear Tribal Leader letter, please click here.

NCAI Contact Info: Tyler Scribner, Policy Analysttscribner@ncai.org

 NAGPRA Review Committee Seeks Nominations

 

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee requests nominations of a traditional religious leader for the Committee. The Secretary will consider nominations submitted by tribal nations, Native Hawaiian organizations, or traditional Native religious leaders.

 

Nominations should be submitted to:

 

Melanie O’Brien, Designated Federal Officer, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee, National NAGPRA Program (2253), National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Room 7360, Washington, DC 20240 OR via email to: nagpra_info@nps.gov

 

Additional submission requirements are listed in the Federal Register notice and can be found here.

 

Nominations must be submitted by March 28, 2019.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Darren Modzelewski, Policy Counsel, dmodzelewski@ncai.org

USDA Launches New Program to Create High-Speed Internet e-Connectivity in Rural America

 

On December 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced up to $600 million in loans and grants as part of the newly-created ReConnect Program. This pilot program allows certain telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers, and municipalities to apply for funding to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service.

 

USDA Rural Development is the primary agency delivering the program, with assistance from other federal partners. Projects funded through this initiative must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload.

 

To help with the application process, USDA is holding a series of online webinars and regional in-person workshops. The full list of upcoming public webinars and workshops, as well as program descriptions and eligibility requirements can be found at the ReConnect Program’s webpage.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Tyler Scribner, Policy Analyst, tscribner@ncai.org

Last modified: November 11, 2019