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Public Statements

Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (S. 3193) to make technical corrections to the legal description of certain land to be held in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians, and for other purposes.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

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Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This particular bill corrects an error that was made in 2004 under an act of Congress under which land that was intended to be placed in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians in California. That law that was improperly written--amazing--gave a written legal description of the trust land that contained several mistakes. The unfortunate result was to put Congress on record as declaring that non-Indian private property is to be held in trust rather than the tribe's property.

This action placed a cloud on the title of the non-Indians' property and frustrated the tribe's effort to use the lands that Congress intended to place in trust for its benefit. However, this lagan attached to a buoy is able to be retrieved at this time and fixed in this particular piece of legislation.

Senate bill 3193 corrects this error, clearing the title to the non-Indians' property and affirming the trust status of the correct lands. The subcommittee on the Interior and Alaskan Native Affairs held a legislative hearing on the bill, which the director of the BIA and the Barona Band affirmed that this bill does, indeed, solve these issues; and we have heard no objections in the course of this bill to this particular bill.

I want to commend the efforts of the gentleman from California, Congressman Duncan Hunter. Mr. Hunter has been instrumental in working with the tribe, the surrounding community, the sponsor, and the Natural Resources Committee to bring this bill to the final legislative step before sending it to the President for signing. I also want to thank him for allowing a Senate bill to be part of the solution so that they can actually do something over there.

This is a noncontroversial bill, I urge my colleagues to pass it, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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