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                                                       Calendar No. 720
111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 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.

                                Purpose

    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.

                               Background

    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 
decision.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \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 
state taxation.''
    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 
agreement.
    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.

                          Legislative History

    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-by-Section Analysis


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.

                        Committee Recommendation

    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.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

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 
same.
    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.

                        Executive Communications

    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 
subsection (b).