(House of Representatives - July 05, 2016)

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[Pages H4245-H4246]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            DEVELOPMENT ACT

  Mr. JODY B. HICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules 
and pass the bill (H.R. 4685) to take certain Federal lands located in 
Tulare County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Tule River 
Indian Tribe, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4685

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Tule River Indian 
     Reservation Land Trust, Health, and Economic Development 


       (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), valid, existing 
     rights, and management agreements related to easements and 
     rights-of-way, all right, title, and interest (including 
     improvements and appurtenances) of the United States in and 
     to the approximately 34 acres of Federal lands generally 
     depicted on the map titled ``Proposed Lands to be Held in 
     Trust for the Tule River Tribe'' and dated May 14, 2015, are 
     hereby held in trust by the United States for the benefit of 
     the Tule River Indian Tribe.
       (b) Easements and Rights-of-Way.--For the purposes of 
     subsection (a), valid, existing rights include any easement 
     or right-of-way for which an application is pending with the 
     Bureau of Land Management on the date of the enactment of 
     this Act. If such application is denied upon final action, 
     the valid, existing right related to the application shall 
     cease to exist.
       (c) Availability of Map.--The map referred to in subsection 
     (a) shall be on file and available for public inspection at 
     the office of the California State Director, Bureau of Land 
       (d) Conversion of Valid, Existing Rights.--
       (1) Continuity of use.--Any person claiming in good faith 
     to have valid, existing rights to lands taken into trust by 
     this Act may continue to exercise such rights to the same 
     extent that the rights were exercised before the date of the 
     enactment of this Act until the Secretary makes a 
     determination on an application submitted under paragraph 
     (2)(B) or the application is deemed to be granted under 
     paragraph (3).
       (2) Notice and application.--Consistent with sections 2800 
     through 2880 of title 43, Code of Federal Regulations, as 
     soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this 
     Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall notify any person 
     that claims to have valid, existing rights, such as a 
     management agreement, easement, or other right-of-way, to 
     lands taken into trust under subsection (a) that--
       (A) such lands have been taken into trust; and
       (B) the person claiming the valid, existing rights has 60 
     days to submit an application to the Secretary requesting 
     that the valid, existing rights be converted to a long-term 
     easement or other right-of-way.
       (3) Determination.--The Secretary of the Interior shall 
     grant or deny an application submitted under paragraph (2)(B) 
     not later than 180 days after the application is submitted. 
     Such a determination shall be considered a final action. If 
     the Secretary does not make a determination within 180 days 
     after the application is submitted, the application shall be 
     deemed to be granted.

[[Page H4246]]

       (e) Restriction on Gaming.--Lands taken into trust pursuant 
     to subsection (a) shall not be considered to have been taken 
     into trust for, and shall not be eligible for, class II 
     gaming or class III gaming (as those terms are defined in 
     section 4 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Jody B. Hice) and the gentleman from California (Mr. 
Costa) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

                             General Leave

  Mr. JODY B. HICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent 
that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Georgia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. JODY B. HICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may 
consume to the gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy), the majority 

                              {time}  1945

  Mr. McCARTHY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, the Tule River Indian Tribe are constituents of mine, 
and I believe that they have a right to self-governance and local 
  This bill is about putting some unused Federal land in trust for the 
tribe. More fundamentally, this is about giving the people who actually 
live in a place more control over that land.
  This is a good, practical rule of thumb when it comes to governance. 
People at the local level govern themselves best. That is definitely 
the case when it comes to Native American tribes. My principle is that 
Indian tribes will use their land better than a distant Federal 
Government, and we should let them.
  Today's legislation transfers a relatively small piece of land, only 
about 34 acres, but it will allow the Tule River Tribe to unify their 
property, giving them the freedom to live as they choose. And that 
freedom has more value than any amount of acreage.
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, the members of the Tule River Tribe are descendants of 
the original inhabitants of the San Joaquin Valley that occupied the 
territory along the rivers and creeks flowing from the Sierra Nevada 
Mountains and Tulare Lake in south-central California.
  Like many other tribes in California and around the country, the Tule 
River people have suffered many injustices and inequities over the 
years, including forced removal and relocation of the tribe to the 
roughly 54,000-acre reservation which they have resided in for 140 
  H.R. 4685, and Mr. McCarthy, will add to that existing land base by 
deeming that approximately 34 acres of Bureau of Land Management land 
be held in trust for the tribe. It is a small amount of acreage in the 
bigger picture. This land is situated between the tribal fee land and 
the reservation land, near the only entrance to the reservation, and it 
is entirely cut off from Federal lands in the vicinity.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a very small amount of land, as I said, but as 
the vice chairman of the tribe stated in testimony before the 
committee, ``every acre of land is important'' to the Tule River 
  I want to commend the sponsor of the bill, Majority Leader Mr. 
McCarthy, for bringing this legislation to the floor. It passed by 
unanimous consent. I urge its quick adoption.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. JODY B. HICE of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I would just like to 
commend my colleague, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for his work on 
this important piece of legislation, and I urge my colleagues to 
support H.R. 4685.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Jody B. Hice) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 4685.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.