Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

115th Congress    }                                           {   Report
                          HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                           {  115-202




 July 11, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 597]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 597) to take lands in Sonoma County, California, 
into trust as part of the reservation of the Lytton Rancheria 
of California, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend 
that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 597 is to take lands in Sonoma County, 
California, into trust as part of the reservation of the Lytton 
Rancheria of California.


    The Lytton Rancheria is a tribe of approximately 220 
enrolled members near the central California coast, with the 
tribal headquarters located in Santa Rosa, California. The 
original 50-acre Rancheria land, located approximately 20 miles 
north of Santa Rosa, California, was purchased and set aside by 
the United States in 1926. From the late 1930s to the late 
1950s, the Rancheria was composed of two families and their 
descendants who moved to the 50-acre tract north of Healdsburg, 
California. In 1958, federal supervision of the Rancheria was 
terminated by an Act of Congress by Public Law 85-671 (72 Stat. 
619). This occurred in the context of the ``Termination Era'' 
when Congress determined to end its policy of recognizing 
tribes, holding their lands in federal trust, and supervising 
their efforts. Subsequently, title to the Rancheria land was 
transferred to individual members, who subsequently sold the 
land to non-Indians.
    In 1987, aided by the California Indian Legal Services, the 
Lytton Rancheria joined as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the 
United States challenging the Congressional termination. In 
1991, the U.S. District Court for Northern California approved 
a settlement negotiated between the federal government and a 
number of terminated Rancherias under which the government 
would recognize the Rancherias as tribes.\1\ The settlement did 
not restore the original Rancheria property in Healdsburg, 
California, to the Rancheria or otherwise provide any land. The 
court did, however, recognize that the government and the 
Rancheria agreed that future lands could be placed in federal 
trust for the Rancheria within Sonoma County.\2\ At the 
insistence of Sonoma County, restrictions were placed on land 
acquired by the Lytton Rancheria in Alexander Valley within the 
original Rancheria boundaries. These restrictions included a 
use requirement consistent with the Sonoma County General 
Plan.\3\ Additionally, gambling was expressly prohibited on 
lands within the exterior boundaries of the original Rancheria 
lands in Alexander Valley.\4\
    \1\Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Sugar Bowl Rancheria 
v. United States. No. C-86-3660 (N.D. Cal. 1991), at 3.
    \2\Id. at 4.
    \3\Id. at 5 and Exhibit B.
    \4\Id. at 5 and Exhibit C.
    In the final days of the 106th Congress, Congress enacted 
the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act (Public Law 106-568). One 
provision required the Secretary of the Interior to acquire 
title to a 9.5-acre parcel of land housing the Casino San Pablo 
cardroom, located approximately 60 miles south of the Rancheria 
tribal headquarters, in San Pablo (Contra Costa County), 
California, in trust for the benefit of the Lytton Rancheria. 
Section 819 of that act further provided that ``[s]uch land 
shall be deemed to have been held in trust and part of the 
reservation of the Rancheria prior to October 17, 1988.''
    The effect of backdating the trust acquisition was to grant 
the tribe the right to operate a casino pursuant to the Indian 
Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.). The tribe 
converted the Casino San Pablo cardroom into a class II casino. 
In 2004, the tribe negotiated a class III gaming compact with 
the Governor of California; however, the California Legislature 
did not ratify the compact due to strong local concerns. In 
2009, with the strong support of local officials, a bill to 
place restrictions on the San Pablo casino passed the U.S. 
Senate (S. 338, a bill to amend the Omnibus Indian Advancement 
Act to modify the date as of which certain tribal land of the 
Lytton Rancheria of California is deemed to be held in trust 
and to provide for the conduct of certain activities on the 
    In recent years, the tribe has used revenues from its 
casino to purchase a number of parcels adjacent to the town of 
Windsor, California in Sonoma County. Windsor is approximately 
10 miles from the tribal headquarters in Santa Rosa, 
    In 2009, the tribe applied to the Department of the 
Interior to place title to approximately 127 acres of lands 
acquired in this area in trust. The application is still 
pending with the Department of the Interior. The tribe has 
testified that it intends to use a portion of the lands for 
tribal housing, while the rest would support a diverse range of 
economic development including plans for a future resort and 
winery. Land held in trust for a tribe is not subject to local 
and state taxation and regulation, including zoning laws.
    H.R. 597 would place approximately 511 acres of non-
contiguous parcels of land owned by the Rancheria in trust, 
subject to valid and existing rights, contracts, and management 
agreements. Under the bill, gaming under the Indian Gaming 
Regulatory Act would be prohibited on these lands.
    Additionally, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) dated March 
10, 2015, entered into between the tribe and Sonoma County 
concerning the taking of land into trust would not be subject 
to review or approval by the Secretary of the Interior. The MOA 
between the tribe and Sonoma County outlines commitments and 
procedures to mitigate impacts of economic development 
activities by the tribe. Activities contemplated include a 
residential development project of 147 residential units and a 
winery and/or resort. Also outlined in the document is an 
agreement that the tribe will pay $6.1 million for one-time 
impacts on the County and pay 30 percent of the property taxes 
on the lands thereafter. The County additionally agrees not to 
oppose or issue negative comments on the tribe's efforts to 
seek additional trust lands in the future through the 
administrative or legislative process. The MOA is binding for 
22 years.
    Lastly, the Committee has received a relatively large 
number of communications from the residents of Windsor, 
California, in opposition to the bill.\5\
    \5\Rep. Jared Huffman surprised at opposition to Lytton tribe's 
plans near Windsor. The Press Democrat. August 28, 2015. http://

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 597 was introduced on January 20, 2017, by Congressman 
Jeff Denham (R-CA). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs. On June 22, 2017, 
the Full Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs 
was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments were offered 
and the bill was ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by unanimous consent on June 27, 2017.


    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.


    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, July 5, 2017.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 597, the Lytton 
Rancheria Homelands Act of 2017.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
                                                        Keith Hall.

H.R. 597--Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act of 2017

    H.R. 597 would take into trust, for the benefit of the 
Lytton Rancheria of California, a federally recognized Indian 
tribe, certain lands located in the County of Sonoma, 
California. The bill would specify certain prohibitions on 
gaming on the affected land, consistent with an existing 
memorandum of understanding between the tribe and the County of 
    Based on information from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 597 would have no significant 
effect on the federal budget. CBO estimates that any change in 
the agency's administrative costs under the bill, which would 
be subject to appropriation, would not exceed $500,000 
    Enacting H.R. 597 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 597 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 597 would impose an intergovernmental mandate, as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), by 
preempting the authority of state and local governments to tax 
land taken into trust for the Lytton Rancheria. CBO estimates 
the costs of the mandate would not exceed the threshold 
established in UMRA ($78 million in 2017, adjusted annually for 
    H.R. 597 contains no private-sector mandates as defined in 
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Meghan 
Shrewsbury and Megan Carroll (for federal costs) and Rachel 
Austin (for intergovernmental mandates). The estimate was 
approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to take lands in Sonoma County, 
California, into trust as part of the reservation of the Lytton 
Rancheria of California.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.


    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing