Week ending July 14, 2017
H.R.597 – Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act of 2017
The bill explains “The Lytton Rancheria of California is a federally recognized Indian tribe that lost its homeland after it was unjustly and unlawfully terminated in 1958. The Tribe was restored to Federal recognition in 1991, but the conditions of its restoration have prevented it from regaining a homeland on its original lands.” And that Congress needs to take action to return those homelands to the 35,000 Indians living there.
To that end the bill ‘The land owned by the Tribe and generally depicted on the map titled “Lytton Fee Owned Property to be Taken into Trust” and dated May 1, 2015, is hereby taken into trust for the benefit of the Tribe, subject to valid existing rights, contracts, and management agreements related to easements and rights-of-way.’ No gaming is allowed.
(Full text of H.R.597 at congress.gov)
Sponsor: Rep. Denham, Jeff [R-CA-10] (Introduced 01/20/2017)
Status: Passed House /
VOTES and FLOOR ACTION
On Passage: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote
Motion to recommit:
Text of the motion:
COST AND IMPACT
Cost to the taxpayers: CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 597 would have no significant effect on the federal budget. CBO estimates that any change in the agency’s administrative costs under the bill, which would be subject to appropriation, would not exceed $500,000 annually.
Pay-as-you-go requirements: Enacting H.R. 597 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
Regulatory and Other Impact: H.R. 597 would impose an intergovernmental mandate, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), by preempting the authority of state and local governments to tax land taken into trust for the Lytton Rancheria. CBO estimates the costs of the mandate would not exceed the threshold established in UMRA ($78 million in 2017, adjusted annually for inflation).
Dynamic Scoring: CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 597 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
Tax Complexity: Not applicable to this bill.
Earmark Certification: No earmarks
Duplication of programs: None
Direct Rule-Making: None
Advisory Committee Statement: No Advisory Committee formed
Budget Authority: Data not available
Constitutional Authority: Assumed.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The Lytton Rancheria of California is a federally recognized Indian tribe that lost its homeland after it was unjustly and unlawfully terminated in 1958. The Tribe was restored to Federal recognition in 1991, but the conditions of its restoration have prevented it from regaining a homeland on its original lands.
(2) Congress needs to take action to reverse historic injustices that befell the Tribe and have prevented it from regaining a viable homeland for its people.
(3) Prior to European contact there were as many as 350,000 Indians living in what is now the State of California. By the turn of the 19th century, that number had been reduced to approximately 15,000 individuals, many of them homeless and living in scattered bands and communities.
(4) The Lytton Rancheria’s original homeland was purchased by the United States in 1926 pursuant to congressional authority designed to remedy the unique tragedy that befell the Indians of California and provide them with reservations called Rancherias to be held in trust by the United States.
(5) After the Lytton Rancheria lands were purchased by the United States, the Tribe settled on the land and sustained itself for several decades by farming and ranching.
(6) By the mid-1950s, Federal Indian policy had shifted back towards a policy of terminating Indian tribes. In 1958, Congress enacted the Rancheria Act of 1958 (72 Stat. 619), which slated 41 Rancherias in California, including the Lytton Rancheria, for termination after certain conditions were met.
(7) On August 1, 1961, the Lytton Rancheria was terminated by the Federal Government. This termination was illegal because the conditions for termination under the Rancheria Act had never been met. After termination was implemented, the Tribe lost its lands and was left without any means of supporting itself.
(8) In 1987, the Tribe joined three other tribes in a lawsuit against the United States challenging the illegal termination of their Rancherias. A Stipulated Judgment in the case, Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Sugar Bowl Rancheria v. United States, No. C–86–3660 (N.D.Cal. March 22, 1991), restored the Lytton Rancheria to its status as a federally recognized Indian tribe.
(9) The Stipulated Judgment agreed that the Lytton Rancheria would have the “individual and collective status and rights” which it had prior to its termination and expressly contemplated the acquisition of trust lands for the Lytton Rancheria.
(10) The Stipulated Judgment contains provisions, included at the request of the local county governments and neighboring landowners, that prohibit the Lytton Rancheria from exercising its full Federal rights on its original homeland in the Alexander Valley.
(11) In 2000, approximately 9.5 acres of land in San Pablo, California, was placed in trust status for the Lytton Rancheria for economic development purposes.
(12) The Tribe has since acquired, from willing sellers at fair market value, property in Sonoma County near the Tribe’s historic Rancheria. This property, which the Tribe holds in fee status, is suitable for a new homeland for the Tribe.
(13) On a portion of the land to be taken into trust, which portion totals approximately 124.12 acres, the Tribe plans to build housing for its members and governmental and community facilities.
(14) A portion of the land to be taken into trust is being used for viniculture, and the Tribe intends to develop more of the lands to be taken into trust for viniculture. The Tribe’s investment in the ongoing viniculture operation has reinvigorated the vineyards, which are producing high-quality wines. The Tribe is operating its vineyards on a sustainable basis and is working toward certification of sustainability.
(15) No gaming shall be conducted on the lands to be taken into trust by this Act.
(16) No gaming shall be conducted on any lands taken into trust on behalf of the Tribe in Sonoma County after the date of the enactment of this Act north of a line that runs in a cardinal east and west direction from the point where Highway Route 12 crosses Highway 101 as they are physically on the ground and used for transportation on January 1, 2016, and extending to the furthest extent of Sonoma County.
(17) Any agreement, now or in the future, regarding gaming restrictions between Sonoma County and the Tribe will be effective without further review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
(18) By directing that these lands be taken into trust, the United States will ensure that the Lytton Rancheria will finally have a permanently protected homeland on which they can once again live communally and plan for future generations. This action is necessary to fully restore the Tribe to the status it had before it was wrongfully terminated in 1961.
(19) The Tribe and County of Sonoma have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement in which the County agrees to the lands in the County being taken into trust for the benefit of the Tribe in consideration for commitments made by the Tribe.
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