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Calendar No. 720
111th Congress Report
2d Session 111-379
INDIAN PUEBLO CULTURAL CENTER CLARIFICATION ACT
December 20, 2010.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Dorgan, from the Committee on Indian Affairs,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 4445]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the
bill (H.R. 4445) to amend Public Law 95-232 to repeal a
restriction on treating as Indian country certain lands held in
trust for Indian pueblos in New Mexico, having considered the
same, reports favorably thereon without an amendment and
recommends that the bill do pass.
The purpose of H.R. 4445 is to amend Public Law 95-232 by
repealing a restriction on treating an 11.2857 acre parcel of
land held in trust by the United States for the 19 Indian
Pueblos in New Mexico as Indian country.
The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is located on an 11.2857
acre parcel of land located in Albuquerque, NM. This parcel of
land was originally owned by the United States and was the site
of the Albuquerque Indian School, which was administered by the
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In the 1960's, the federal
government determined that the lands and improvements of the
Indian school property were no longer needed for Indian school
purposes. Subsequently, the BIA conveyed the land in 1969 by
quitclaim deed to the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico as tenants in
common. The purpose of the conveyance was to enable the Pueblos
to develop an Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on the property.
The All Indian Pueblo Council (AIPC) is comprised of the 19
New Mexico Pueblos and one Texan Pueblo (Ysleta del Sur became
a member of the AIPC in 2009). The AIPC meets monthly to
discuss issues such as education, culture, and water and land
rights. As co-owners of the 11.2857 acre parcel of property
conveyed to them by the BIA in 1969, the Indian Pueblos,
through the AIPC, sought to clarify the legal status of the
property by requesting that the land be taken into trust by the
United States for the benefit of the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico.
In 1978, Congress enacted Public Law 95-232, which directed
the Secretary of the Interior to place the 11.2857 acre parcel
of land into trust for the benefit of the 19 Pueblos in New
Mexico. Section (b) of that Act states:
Such land shall be held in trust jointly for such
Indian pueblos and shall enjoy the tax-exempt status of
other trust lands, including exemption from State
taxation and regulations. However, such property shall
not be ``Indian country'' as defined in section 1151 of
title 18, United States Code. (italics added).
In 1997, the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department
(NMTRD) sought to impose its gross receipts tax on a business
owned by an enrolled tribal member and located at the Indian
Pueblo Cultural Center (In the Matter of the Protest of Val
Tech & Associates, NMTRD Decision and Order, No. 97-26).\1\ In
an administrative hearing, the NMTRD concluded that Congress
intended to authorize the State of New Mexico to tax business
activity on the 11.2857 acre parcel of trust land by providing
in Public Law 95-232 that the land would ``not be Indian
country as defined in section 1151 of title 18, United States
Code.'' The NMTRD held that while the 11.2857 acre parcel of
trust property itself was exempt from state taxation, the
business activity taking place on the property was subject to
state taxation. The NMTRD decision was not appealed.
\1\This administrative proceeding involved an enrolled member of
the Pueblo of Laguna whose place of business was located at the Indian
Pueblo Cultural Center. His business was to do private investigation,
primarily background investigations for casinos owned and operated by
the Pueblos of Acoma, Sandia, and San Felipe.
Need for the Legislation
The Indian Pueblo Marketing, Inc. (IPMI) is a corporation
chartered by the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to 25
U.S.C. Sec. 477, and is owned jointly by the 19 New Mexico
Pueblos. IPMI has conducted retail business operations on the
11.2857 acre parcel of trust land since 1987. During that
period, IPMI has never paid state taxes on its business
operations at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the State
of New Mexico has only assessed taxes against IPMI for its
business operations at the Cultural Center one time.\2\ This
tax assessment occurred in 1998 when the NMTRD assessed
cigarette and tobacco taxes against IPMI based on the Val Tech
\2\Neither Bernalillo County nor the City of Albuquerque, in which
the 11.2857 acre parcel of trust land is located, has attempted to
impose any tax on IPMI or Pueblo members based on their activity on the
property. Further, the County and City have never attempted to tax the
property itself, or the substantial improvements on that land.
In 1999, however, the NMTRD entered into an agreement with
IPMI withdrawing the assessments on cigarette and tobacco taxes
against IPMI. The agreement was approved by the NMTRD and the
State Attorney General and provided that Public Law 95-232
``does not reflect any intention by Congress that the Pueblos'
activity on the Cultural Center trust land would be subject to
Despite the 1999 agreement, the NMTRD denied requests by
IPMI in 2000, 2004, and 2008 to issue a written ruling
confirming that IPMI's business activity on the 11.2857 acre
parcel of trust land is exempt from taxation by the State of
New Mexico. Without a written ruling by the NMTRD, it is
unclear if the NMTRD has the authority to impose state taxes
based on the Val Tech decision, notwithstanding the 1999
Since 1978, Congress has enacted the Santa Fe Indian School
Act, Public Law 106-568, and the Albuquerque Indian School Act,
Public Law 110-453. These two public laws declared that the
lands identified in each Act would be held in trust for the 19
Pueblos in New Mexico. However, neither Act included a
provision stating that the lands to be placed in trust would
not be Indian country, as PL 95-232 did for the 11.2857 acre
parcel of trust property containing the Indian Pueblo Cultural
Center. Enacting H.R. 4445 would clarify that the 11.2857 acre
parcel of trust land containing the Indian Pueblo Cultural
Center maintains the same legal status as these other lands
jointly held in trust for the 19 New Mexico Pueblos.
On January 13, 2010, Representative Heinrich, for himself
and Representatives Lujan and Teague, introduced H.R. 4445. The
bill was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. On
April 21, 2010, the Natural Resources Committee held a hearing
on the bill, at which the Department of Interior, the State of
New Mexico, and the Indian Pueblos of New Mexico testified in
favor of the bill. On June 28, 2010, the Natural Resources
Committee reported the bill out of Committee, as amended. On
June 30, 2010, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4445,
as amended, by unanimous voice vote. The bill was received in
the Senate and referred to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
On November 18, 2010, the Indian Affairs Committee held an open
business meeting where H.R. 4445 was considered and favorably
reported by a voice vote.
Section 1. Short title
This section provides that this Act may be cited as the
``Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Clarification Act.''
Section 2. Repeal of restriction on treating as Indian Country certain
lands held in trust for Indian Pueblos in New Mexico
This section of the bill amends Public Law 95-232, by
striking the provision in that law which prohibits the parcel
of land from being treated as ``Indian Country'' as defined in
section 1151 of title 18 of the United States Code.
Section 3. Prohibition on gaming
This section adds language to Public Law 95-232 prohibiting
gaming from occurring on the parcel that is held in trust
jointly for the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico.
On November 18, 2010, the Indian Affairs Committee convened
a business meeting to consider H.R. 4445 and other measures.
The Committee, by a voice vote, ordered the bill reported to
the full Senate with the recommendation that the bill do pass.
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following cost estimate, as provided by the
Congressional Budget Office, dated December 1, 2010, was
prepared for H.R. 4445:
December 1, 2010.
Hon. Byron L. Dorgan,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4445, the Indian
Pueblo Cultural Center Clarification Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
H.R. 4445--Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Clarification Act
H.R. 4445 would eliminate a provision of current law that
prohibits certain land, located in New Mexico and held in trust
by the federal government for the New Mexico Pueblos, from
being considered Indian Country, as defined by federal law.
Because the federal government is responsible for certain law
enforcement activities in Indian Country, enacting the
legislation could increase the workload of certain federal law
enforcement agencies. Based on information from the Department
of the Interior, CBO estimates that any costs associated with
additional law enforcement activities would be insignificant
and subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting
H.R. 4445 would not affect direct spending or revenues;
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
H.R. 4445 would impose an intergovernmental mandate as
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by
prohibiting gaming on some land held in trust for the Pueblos
in New Mexico. Because the Pueblos are not currently operating
gaming activities on this land nor do they have plans to do so
in the future, CBO estimates that the cost, if any, would be
small and well below the annual threshold established in UMRA
($70 million in 2010, adjusted annually for inflation).
This bill contains no new private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA.
On June 25, 2010, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R.
4445 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural
Resources on June 16, 2010. The House and Senate versions of
the legislation are similar, and the CBO cost estimates are the
The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Jeff LaFave
(for federal costs) and Melissa Merrell (for the state, local,
and tribal impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo,
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
The Committee has received no communications from the
Executive Branch regarding H.R. 4445.
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 has concluded
that the regulatory and paperwork impacts of H.R. 4445 should
be de minimis.
Changes in Existing Law
In accordance with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
H.R 4445, as ordered reported, are shown as follows (existing
law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter printed in italic):
PUBLIC LAW 95-232
* * * * * * *
(b) Upon approval by the Secretary of the Interior, the
Secretary shall accept such conveyances on behalf of the United
States. Such land shall be held in trust jointly for such
Indian pueblos and shall enjoy the tax-exempt status of other
trust lands, including exemption from State taxation and
regulation. [However, such property shall not be ``Indian
country'' as defined in section 1151 of title 18, United States
Code.] The Secretary shall cause a description of such trust
land to be published in the Federal Register.
* * * * * * *
(e) Prohibition on Gaming.--Gaming, as defined and
regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701
et seq.), shall be prohibited on land held in trust pursuant to