Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Passes Two Bills & Resolution on Wednesday

Sen. Jon Tester, Vice Chair of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Sen. Jon Tester, Vice Chair of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Published September 7, 2016 

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), passed the following three pieces of legislation at its business meeting:

·         S. 2711, the Native American Education Opportunity Act;

·         S. 2959, a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund; and

·         S. Con. Res. 49, the Protection of the Right of Tribes to stop the Export of Cultural and Traditional (PROTECT) Patrimony Resolution.

During the business meeting, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the SCIA, highlighted what each piece of legislation intended to accomplish.

“The bill, S. 2711, was introduced in March of this year by Senator McCain to address school choice for Indian students,” said Chairman Barrasso. “The committee held a legislative hearing on the bill on April 6, 2016.

“The bill, S. 2959, was introduced on May 19, 2016 by Senator McCain along with Senator Flake to authorize existing settlement funds to be used for the tribe’s rural water system. The committee held a legislative hearing on the bill on March 29, 2016.

“The Senate Concurrent Resolution 49 was introduced by Senator Udall along with Senators McCain and Heinrich on July 14, 2016 to address international trafficking of Indian tribal cultural items and human remains.

“The Government Accountability Office is required to conduct a study regarding trafficking of Indian cultural items under this resolution and three other measures. I would urge the sponsors of these measures to coordinate on these requirements, so that these resources are most effectively used for this important study.”

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