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                                                       Calendar No. 432
113th Congress   }                                         {     Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session      }                                         {    113-194

======================================================================



 
TO REAFFIRM THAT CERTAIN LAND HAS BEEN TAKEN INTO TRUST FOR THE BENEFIT 
 OF THE MATCH-E-BE-NASH-SHE-WISH BAND OF POTTAWATOMI INDIANS, AND FOR 
                             OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                 June 17, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Tester, from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1603]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 1603) to reaffirm that certain land has been taken 
into trust for the benefit of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band 
of Pottawatomi Indians, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 1603 is to reaffirm that certain land has 
been taken into trust for the benefit of the Match-E-Be-Nash-
She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, and for other purposes.

                               BACKGROUND

    The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians 
(Gun Lake Tribe) is a federally recognized tribe residing in 
rural Michigan. In 1998, the Department of the Interior 
recognized the Tribe through the administrative federal 
acknowledgement process. Two years later, the Tribe filed an 
application with the Department of the Interior to place a 
tract of land, known as the Bradley Property, into trust 
pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act.
    The trust acquisition by the Secretary was quickly 
challenged by an anti-gaming organization and a neighboring 
landowner. These challenges resulted in numerous court 
decisions, culminating in the United States Supreme Court's 
decision in Patchak v. Salazar. The Patchak decision ultimately 
provided the neighboring landowner legal standing to challenge 
the Secretary's trust acquisition for the Tribe. That challenge 
is currently pending before a federal district court, and 
places in jeopardy the Tribe's only tract of land held in trust 
and the economic development project that the Tribe is 
currently operating on the land.
    S. 1603 would ratify and confirm the Secretary's 
acquisition of the tract of land in trust for the Tribe. The 
bill would provide certainty to the legal status of the land, 
on which the Tribe has begun gaming operations as a means of 
economic development for its community.
    The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on 
the bill on May 7, 2014, where the Tribe and the Department of 
the Interior testified in support of the bill.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1--Short Title

    This Act may be cited as the ``Gun Lake Trust Land 
Reaffirmation Act.''

Section 2--Reaffirmation of Indian Trust Land

    The land taken into trust by the United States for the 
benefit of the Tribe and described in the final Notice of 
Determination of the Department of the Interior (70 Fed. Reg. 
25596 (May 13, 2005)) is reaffirmed as trust land, and the 
actions of the Secretary of the Interior in taking that land 
into trust are ratified and confirmed.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action 
(including an action pending in a Federal court as of the date 
of enactment of this Act) relating to the land shall not be 
filed or maintained in a Federal court and shall be promptly 
dismissed.
    Nothing in this Act alters or diminishes the right of the 
Tribe from seeking to have any additional land taken into 
trust.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1603 was introduced on October 29, 2013, by Senator 
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). The bill 
was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On May 7, 
2014, the committee held a hearing on the bill. On May 21, 
2014, the committee met to consider the bill. No amendments 
were offered, and the bill was adopted and ordered reported 
favorably to the Senate by voice vote. On June 12, 2014, the 
bill was reported and placed on the Senate Legislative 
Calendar.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated June 17, 2014, was prepared 
for S. 1603:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 17, 2014.
Hon. Jon Tester,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1603, the Gun Lake 
Trust Land Reaffirmation Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Martin von 
Gnechten.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 1603--Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act

    S. 1603 would reaffirm the status of lands taken into trust 
by the Department of the Interior (DOI) for the benefit of the 
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians in the 
state of Michigan. The legislation also would prohibit any 
lawsuits related to the trust land. In 2012, the Supreme Court 
ruled that DOI lacked the authority to take nearly 150 acres 
into trust.
    Based on information provided by DOI, CBO estimates that 
implementing the legislation would have no significant effect 
on the federal budget. The legislation would not significantly 
increase the cost of managing tribal trust lands. Enacting S. 
1603 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 1603 contains an intergovernmental and private-sector 
mandate as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
because it would end rights of action for public and private 
entities that are currently able to pursue legal actions 
related to the land held in trust for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-
Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. The bill would prohibit any 
action relating to the trust land from being brought or 
maintained in a federal court. The cost of the mandate would be 
any forgone compensation that would have been awarded through 
legal actions.
    The state of Michigan and several local governments have 
entered into an agreement with the tribe related to the use of 
the land, and CBO believes it is unlikely that, absent the 
bill, any other public entity would bring an action that would 
result in significant compensation. Therefore, CBO estimates 
the cost of the intergovernmental mandate would not exceed the 
annual threshold established in UMRA for such mandates ($76 
million, in 2014, adjusted annually for inflation).
    Private entities, however, have no such agreement, and the 
bill would extinguish all rights to legal actions relating to 
the trust lands. Awards in such claims are in many cases 
limited to the value of the land. Because of the commercial 
properties located on the trust land, the value of awards 
related to those lands could be significant. However, because 
both the number of claims that could be barred or terminated 
and the value of forgone compensation stemming from those 
claims are uncertain, CBO has no basis for estimating the cost 
of the mandate. Therefore, CBO cannot determine whether the 
cost of the private-sector mandate would exceed the annual 
threshold established in UMRA for such mandates ($152 million, 
in 2014, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Martin von 
Gnechten (for federal costs), Melissa Merrell (for the state 
and local impact), and Marin Burnett (for the private-sector 
impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

               Regulatory and Paperwork Impact Statement

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 1603 will 
have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                        Executive Communications

    The Committee has received no communications from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 1603.

                 Changes in Existing Law (Cordon Rule)

    In compliance with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee finds that the 
enactment of S. 1603 will not make any changes in existing law.