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Legislative and Administrative Update

March 6, 2019

Legislative Update

Eric Miller Confirmed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

S. 47 to be Signed into Law

S. 524 Introduced

H.R. 1225 Introduced

H.R. 1416 Introduced

 

Hearings

House Education and Labor Subcommittee Receives Testimony on Classrooms in 

Crisis

SCIA Receives Testimony on Native American Programs Act and ANA

 

Upcoming Hearings

House Appropriations to Hold Hearing on FY 2020 Tribal Program Funding

House Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on VAWA Reauthorization

SCIA to Hold Hearing on Indian Programs on the GAO High Risk List

SCIA to Hold Field Hearing on Law Enforcement Efforts to Stop Drugs from Entering 

Indian Country

 

Administrative Update

IHS Releases FY 2019-2023 Strategic Plan

IHS to Host Call With Tribal and Urban Indian Leaders

This Week: DOI to Hold Tribal Consultations in Alaska

HUD Extends Deadline for Submitting Applications for ICDBG Program

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
Eric Miller Confirmed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Mr. Miller’s nomination had been opposed by NCAI and more than 50 tribal nations and organizations. NCAI 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 was confirmed by a vote of 53-46.

 

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

S. 47, the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, to be Signed into Law

 

On February 12, 2019, the Senate passed S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act. S. 47 is sponsored by Senator Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and was passed by the House on February 26, 2019. The bill is currently awaiting the President’s signature.

 

S. 47 is a bipartisan package of more than 120 public lands, resources, conservation, and water management bills. Specifically, section 1119 of the bill, entitled, “Alaska Native Vietnam Era Veterans Land Allotment” would allow certain Alaska Native veterans, who served in active military duty status between August 5, 1964 and December 31, 1971 and who meet certain other conditions, or their heirs, to apply for an Alaska Native Vietnam Era Veterans Land Allotment. While certain lands are excluded from the reach of this provision, the bill would allow for certain public lands to be identified by federal officials, in consultation with the state, regional corporations and village corporations, to be included as eligible lands for such allotments. In 2015, NCAI passed resolution #SD-15-016 urging Congress to amend the Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Allotment Act for Alaska Native veterans to obtain allotments within the State of Alaska.

 

Section 1454, entitled, Tribal Uses and Interests, would allow for the temporary closure to the general public of any portion of national monuments, special management areas, wild and scenic rivers, areas of critical environmental concern, and National Park System units.

 

For Senator Murkowski’s press release, please click here.

 

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

S. 524, the Department of Veterans Affairs Tribal Advisory Committee Act, Introduced

 

On February 14, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced S. 524, a bill to establish the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs.

 

S. 524 would establish an advisory committee to provide advice and guidance to the Secretary on matters relating to tribal nations, tribal organizations, and American Indian and Alaska Native veterans. The Committee would be composed of 15 members selected by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from individuals nominated by tribal nations or tribal organizations.

 

S. 524 was referred to Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for consideration.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Nicholas Courtney, Policy Analyst, ncourtney@ncai.org

H.R. 1225, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, Introduced

 

On February 14, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 1225, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.

 

H.R. 1225 would provide $1.3 billion in dedicated funding from royalties collected from resource extraction on public lands and waters. Five percent of the amounts in this fund shall be for the purposes of addressing the Bureau of Indian Education school construction and deferred maintenance backlogs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Bureau of Indian Education.

 

H.R. 1225 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Education and Labor.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Nicholas Courtney, Policy Analyst, ncourtney@ncai.org

H.R. 1416, Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act of 2019, Introduced

 

On February 27, 2019, Congressman Don Young (R-AK), introduced H.R. 1416, the Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act of 2019.

 

The proposed legislation would exclude the fact that a tribal nation, tribal member, or tribal entity is legally authorized to produce, purchase, or possess marijuana on lands held in fee by a tribal nation, in trust by the United States, or on lands conveyed to an Alaska Native Corporation under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act from the following four areas: (1) the allocation or distribution of federal funds or other benefits to a tribal nation, member, or tribal entity; (2) determining the eligibility of a tribal nation, tribal member, or tribal entity for any contract, grant, or other agreement with the United States; (3) evaluating ongoing compliance of the tribal nation or tribal entity with any contract, grant, or other agreement with the United Sates where the legal production, purchase, or passion of marijuana by the tribal nation or member would otherwise result in the tribal nation or tribal entity being out of compliance; and (4) determining if the tribal nation or tribal member is eligible for federal benefits.

 

The bill would also authorize doctors at IHS facilities to make medical recommendations to their patients regarding marijuana and would be required to document such recommendations.

 

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

Hearings
House Education and Labor Subcommittee Receives Testimony on Classrooms in Crisis

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing on the Inappropriate Use of Seclusion and Restraint Practices within K-12 schools.

 

Witnesses included Mr. George Sugai, Professor at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut; Mrs. Renee Smith, Coventry, Rhode Island; Ms. Jacqueline Nowicki, Director Of Education Workforce And Income Security at the Government Accountability Office; and Ms. Allison Sutton, Special Education Teacher at Wichita Public Schools in Wichita , Kansas.

 

For witness testimony and more information, please click here.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Nicholas Courtney, Policy Analystncourtney@ncai.org

SCIA Receives Testimony on the Native American Programs Act and the Administration for Native Americans

On Wednesday, February 27, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs received testimony on the 45th Anniversary of the Native American Programs Act and the establishment of the Administration for Native Americans.

 

Witnesses included the Honorable Joseph Socobasin, Council Member and Former Chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe; the Honorable Brian Vallo, Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma; the Honorable Joe James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe; and the Honorable Jeannie Hovland, Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans.

For witness testimony and more information, please click here.

NCAI Contact Info: Nicholas Courtney, Policy Analyst, ncourtney@ncai.org

Upcoming Hearings
 House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee Hearing on FY 2020 Appropriations for Tribal Programs
Wednesday, March 6 – 7, 2019
9:00 a.m. EST and 1:00 p.m. EST
2007 Rayburn House Office
House Judiciary Committee
Hearing on the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
Thursday, March 7, 2019
10:00 a.m. EST
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Oversight Hearing on “Where Are They Now: Indian Programs on the GAO High Risk List.”
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
2:30 a.m. EST
Dirksen 628
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Field Hearing on “To Protect and Serve: Joint Law Enforcement Efforts in Building Safe Tribal Communities and Stopping Dangerous Drugs from Entering Indian Country.”Wednesday, March 20, 2019
10:00 a.m. CST
James Henry Gymnasium Building No. 69 at United Tribes Technical College
3315 University Drive Bismarck, ND

 

Administration Update
IHS Releases FY 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan

 

The Indian Health Service (IHS) has issued a Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL) announcing the release of the IHS Strategic Plan FY 2019-2023.

 

The plan focuses on three strategic goals centered on access, quality, and management and operations:

  • Ensure that comprehensive, culturally appropriate personal and public health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people;
  • Promote excellence and quality through innovation of the Indian health system into an optimally performing organization;
  • Strengthen IHS program management and operations.

Beginning in September 2017, IHS initiated tribal consultation on the IHS Strategic Plan initial framework and formed an IHS Federal-Tribal Strategic Planning Workgroup to review all comments and recommend a list of final goals and objectives for IHS leadership review and approval of the plan. Public comments were also solicited through the Federal Register. Development of the IHS Strategic Plan FY 2019-2023 included gathering stakeholder feedback on an ongoing basis.

 

To view the IHS Strategic Plan, please click here.

 

To view the DTTL, please click here.

NCAI Contact Info: Nicholas Courtney, Policy Analystncourtney@ncai.org

IHS to Host Call with Tribal and Urban Indian Leaders

Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST

 

On Thursday, March 7, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will be hosting a call to update Tribal and Urban Indian Organization Leaders regarding IHS Federal funding and resuming operations.

 

To participate in the call, please use the information below:

 

For webinar access, please click here.

Conference Call: 800-857-5577

Participant Passcode: 6703929

Participant Password: ihs123

NCAI Contact Info: Nicholas Courtney, Policy Analystncourtney@ncai.org

The Department of the Interior to Hold Tribal Consultations in Alaska

This Week: March 5, 2019 and March 7, 2019

 

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

HUD Extends Deadline for Submitting Applications for Fiscal Year 2018 Indian Community Development Block Grants

Deadline: March 20, 2019

 

On February 19, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reissued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the FY 2018 Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program to receive additional applications for approximately 30 calendar days.

 

Applicants that did submit an application under the original announcement may submit another application, though resubmission is not required. HUD will only evaluate the last submission received by Grants.gov, regardless of whether the application was submitted is under the original announcement or this reissued NOFA. The language and requirements remain the same as the original announcement with the exception of project start and end dates.

 

For further information and to view the grant opportunity, please click here.

 

NCAI Contact Info: Tyler Scribner, Policy Analysttscribner@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
Atlanta, Georgia March 12, 2019 TBD
Albuquerque, New Mexico March 27, 2019 TBD
Seattle, Washington April 3, 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

 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

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

Last modified: November 11, 2019