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Mar 13, 2015

Tester reintroduces bipartisan legislation to restore tribal lands

Clean Carcieri fix bill will end the unequal treatment of tribes

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Senator Jon Tester today reaffirmed his commitment to Indian Country by reintroducing a bipartisan bill that reaffirms the long-standing policy of restoring tribal homelands and allows tribes to determine how to use their own land to create jobs and increase economic development.

(U.S. SENATE)-Senator Jon Tester today reaffirmed his commitment to Indian Country by reintroducing a bipartisan bill that reaffirms the long-standing policy of restoring tribal homelands and allows tribes to determine how to use their own land to create jobs and increase economic development.

Tester's bill amends the Indian Reorganization Act to provide the Interior Department the authority to take land into trust for all tribes - reversing the Supreme Court's ruling in Carcieri v. Salazar.

In 2009, the Supreme Court issued a decision that prevents the Interior Department from taking land into trust for tribes recognized after 1934 - the year the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted. The Supreme Court decision created two classes of tribes, those recognized before and after 1934. This decision has caused major delays and unnecessary costs for tribes in their efforts to put tribal lands into trust.

"This bipartisan bill was built with tribal input and eliminates unnecessary hurdles for tribes to increase economic development opportunities," Tester said. "The court decision had a negative impact on tribes across the nation by causing costly litigation and harmful delays in critical infrastructure development. This solution addresses one of Indian Country's top priorities and is a strong step forward to fulfilling the federal government's treaty and trust responsibilities."

The Carcieri decision has significantly impacted all tribes' ability to restore tribal land base for economic and infrastructure development by delaying application processing, allowing costly litigation, and creating uncertainty for tribal governments.

Tester, vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, first introduced this legislation last Congress. It passed unanimously out of committee.

Tester's bill is cosponsored by Senators Moran (R-Kan.), Franken (D-Minn.), Heinrich (D-N.M), Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Murray (D-Wash.), Stabenow (Mich.), and Udall (D-N.M).

 

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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