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Calendar No. 539
113th Congress Report
2d Session 113-271
TO REPEAL THE ACT OF MAY 31, 1918
November 13, 2014.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Tester, from the Committee on Indian Affairs,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 2041]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the
bill (S. 2041) to repeal the Act of May 31, 1918, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon
with an amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do
This legislation, S. 2041 would repeal the Act of May 31,
1918 (1918 Act), which reserved a tract of land within the Fort
Hall Reservation in Idaho for townsite purposes, and provide
the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation the
right of first refusal for any future sales of land within the
The Fort Hall Reservation in southeastern Idaho was
established for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes by Executive Order
in 1867 and was affirmed the following year by the Fort Bridger
Treaty. Originally, the Reservation consisted of 1.8 million
acres, but due to subsequent legislative acts (including the
Dawes Act), the reservation is now 544,000 acres. The Tribes
have been successful in the reacquisition of land within the
Reservation's boundaries; currently, 97% of the Reservation is
owned by the Tribes or held in trust for the Tribes or
individual tribal members.
The May 31, 1918 Act (40 Stat. 592) authorizes the
Secretary of the Interior to reserve for a townsite a tract of
land within the Fort Hall Reservation. The 1918 Act further
allows for patents to be issued for school, park, and other
public purposes for the municipality in charge of caring for
and maintaining the land as long as Indian children are
permitted to attend the public schools established in that
town. The 1918 Act further authorizes the Secretary to cause
lots within the designated townsite to be appraised and
disposed of, with the proceeds to be deposited into the
Treasury for the benefit of the Fort Hall Indians.
By repealing the 1918 Act, former tribal land within the
Reservation's boundaries would once again be available to the
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Secretary would be prevented
from setting aside additional land within the designated
townsite area. In order to promote tribal restoration of
homelands, this legislation would also provide the Tribes with
a right of first refusal to purchase any tracts of land within
the existing townsite offered for sale. This preserves current
landowners' rights, as it does not interfere with their use or
ownership of the land in any way.
Need for Legislation
Legislation is required to repeal a past act of Congress
and to provide the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes with a right of
first refusal for any land sales within the townsite.
The bill was introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) on
February 25, 2014, with Senator Risch as an original cosponsor.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On
May 7, 2014, the Committee held a hearing on the bill. On June
11, 2014, the Committee met at a business meeting to consider
the bill. Senator Crapo offered one amendment and the amendment
was adopted. The bill, as amended, was then ordered to be
reported favorably to the Senate by voice vote.
On July 9, 2014, Representative Michael Simpson (R-ID)
introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives,
H.R. 5050. The legislation is identical to S. 2041, as reported
out by the Committee. The bill was referred to the House
Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and
Alaska Native Affairs. On July 29, 2014, the Subcommittee held
a hearing on the bill. On September 18, 2014, the Subcommittee
discharged the bill, and the bill was considered at a business
meeting by the full Committee, where it was ordered to be
reported favorably to the House by unanimous consent.
Summary of the Amendment
Senator Crapo filed an amendment in the nature of a
substitute at the June 11, 2014, business meeting. The
amendment clarified that the land to be held in trust pursuant
to S. 2041 is limited to those lands located within the Fort
Hall townsite that are owned or acquired by the Tribes or
individual tribal members.
Section-by-Section Analysis of Bill as Ordered Reported
Section 1. Short title
The Act may be cited as the ``May 31, 1918 Act Repeal
Section 2. Definitions
This section provides the definitions for terms within the
Section 3. Repeal
Makes effective the repeal of the May 31, 1918 Act.
Section 4. Right of first refusal
Determines that the Tribes shall have the exclusive right
of first refusal to purchase at fair market value any land set
aside or apart under the 1918 Act and offered for sale. This
section further provides that the United States shall hold in
trust any land located within the Fort Hall townsite that is
owned or acquired by the Tribes or a member of the Tribes
before or after the enactment of this Act.
Section 5. Effect
Clarifies that nothing within this Act affects any valid
right to land that had been set aside or set apart under the
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following cost estimate, as provided by the
Congressional Budget Office on September 23, 2014, was prepared
for S. 2041.
September 23, 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. 2041, the May 31,
1918, Act Repeal Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Martin von
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
Summary: S. 2041 would repeal the authority for the
Department of the Interior (DOI) to reserve land for a town
site within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho for the
benefit of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The bill would give the
tribes the right of first refusal to purchase the land that is
currently reserved and would authorize DOI to take
approximately 111 acres of land into trust for the benefit of
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates
that implementing S. 2041 would have no significant effect on
the federal budget. None of this land is federally owned and
the cost to hold it in trust for the tribes would be minimal.
Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues;
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
Estimated impact on state, local, and tribal governments:
Estimated impact on the private sector: This bill, S. 2041,
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
Estimate prepared by: Martin von Gnechten.
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director
for Budget Analysis.
Regulatory and Paperwork Impact Statement
Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the
Senate requires that 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. 2041 will have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork
The Committee has received no communications from the
Executive Branch regarding S. 2041.
Changes in Existing Law
If enacted, this bill would repeal 40 Stat. 592.