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Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, H.R. 3351, the Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2005, was passed by the House on November 16, 2005, and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. Many of the provisions in the House bill have already been acted on by the Senate in various bills. I will ask the Senate to pass the bill with a substitute amendment which includes most of the provisions in the original House version of the bill as well as some amendments that were not in the House version. I am pleased to be joined by Senator Dorgan as an original cosponsor of the amendment.

The Senate amendment to H.R. 3551 that I am offering contains the following: Section 104 is the same as S. 1484, which passed the Senate on July 26, 2005, and it amends the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Indian Tribes Water Rights Settlement Act of 1990 to adjust the spending rule set forth in that act for the Tribe's Settlement Fund. The provision would authorize expenditure of 6 percent of the average market value of the Settlement fund over the preceding 3 years. Section 201 is the same as S. 706, which passed the Senate on July 26, 2005, and it authorizes the transfer of lands, now held by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to the Department of the Interior to be held in trust for the benefit of the Prairie Island Indian community in Red Wing, MN. The transfer will have no effect on the tax status of the lands, nor will the Prairie Island Indian Community be permitted to develop commercial or gaming facilities on the land; section 202 authorizes various 99-year leases. Part of this section passed Senate in S. 1485 on July 26, 2005, while other provisions were contained in H.R. 3351. Section 203 addresses the problem of lack of appraisers in Indian country by providing that for purposes of obtaining agricultural loans, the market value of land is the default appraisal value. This section is the same as S. 1489, that passed the Senate on July 26, 2005. Section 301 previously passed the Senate in S. 1295 on December 12, 2005, and it authorizes the National Indian Gaming Commission to collect fees up to 0.08 percent of gross gaming revenues, and eliminates $12 million cap, and subjects NIGC to the Government Performance and Results Act. Section 401, like S. 1758, that passed the Senate on August 22, 2005, amends the Indian Financing Act of 1974 to clarify that nonprofit tribal entities are eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs Loan Guaranty Program. In addition, because the BIA is fast reaching its $500 million limit on the amount of loans it can have outstanding, and this section will increase that number to $1.5 billion.

The four new provisions that have not passed the Senate as stand-alone measures do the following: Section 101 corrects a drafting error to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; section 102 facilitates exchanges between Alaska Regional and Village Corporations of land obtained through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act by clarifying that undeveloped land received by each Native corporation participant in the exchanges is deemed to be land conveyed under ANCSA; and section 103 will allow the State of Mississippi to pay the Mississippi Choctaw for work already preformed, through a newly established BIA Trust Fund. The final new provision is section 501, the Native American Probate Reform and Technical Amendment, described in more detail below.

Section 501 corrects drafting errors and clarifies and includes new provisions relating to amendments made by the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004, AIPRA, and S. 1481, which was enacted into law in December of 2005. One of these provisions is an amendment to 25 U.S.C. 464. In 2004, this section was amended in AIPRA so that it would conform to the new uniform Indian probate code that was the centerpiece of AIPRA; however, after reviewing the various amendments that were made by AIPRA, which was a very complex piece of legislation, we concluded that the AIPRA amendments to 25 U.S.C. 464 was drafted in a way that its execution was unclear. So in the 109th Congress, we attempted to correct this in S. 1481--P.L. 109-157, enacted on December 30, 2005, by restating section 464 as it should have read. Unfortunately, there were drafting errors in S. 1481 that were not picked up prior to its enactment. Accordingly, my substitute amendment includes a new restatement of section 464 correcting these drafting errors and conforming the statute to the new uniform Indian probate code enacted as part of AIPRA. I would like to make the point here that the purpose of the amendments restating section 464, both in S. 1481 and in the current substitute amendment to H.R. 3351, were and are intended to do nothing more than to conform the provisions in that section relating to the devise and inheritance of lands to the new uniform probate code contained in the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004. As the author of both S. 1481 and the substitute amendment, I want to make it clear that neither measure intends to affect any of the other sorts of transactions that might otherwise be subject to section 464 or to affect in any way the application of any other Federal laws that might apply to lands that are covered by section 464.

We are also making clarifying amendments to AIPRA relating to the effective date of its amendments and to its amendments to the ``Applicable Federal Law'' provisions of section 207(g) of the Indian Land Consolidation Act. With respect to the former, the substitute includes technical amendments to the effective date section of AIPRA, section 8(b) of AIPRA, to make it clear that the amendments that were made to 25 U.S.C. 464 and 25 U.S.C. 348 are intended to take effect 1 year after the date on which the Secretary of Interior certified that notice of the AIPRA amendments had been given to Indian country in accordance with AIPRA section 8(a), and that sections 348 and 464, as they read immediately prior to the passage of AIPRA, would continue to apply until the effective date of the new amendments.

Finally, the substitute also makes some minor changes to the wording of section 207(g) of ILCA just to further clarify congressional intent that nothing in ILCA supercedes or affects the application of special laws that relate to specific Indian tribes or the allotted lands of specific tribes.

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