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                                                  Calendar No. 557

116th Congress}                                           { Report
                                 SENATE
  2d Session  }                                           { 116-270

======================================================================
 
TO DIRECT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO TAKE CERTAIN LAND LOCATED IN 
  PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA, INTO TRUST FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GILA RIVER 
                INDIAN COMMUNITY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

               September 24, 2020.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

           Mr. Hoeven, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2912]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 2912) to direct the Secretary of the Interior to take 
certain land located in Pinal County, Arizona, into trust for 
the benefit of the Gila River Indian Community, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Secretary of 
the U.S. Department of the Interior (Secretary) to take land, 
located in Pinal County, Arizona, into trust for the benefit of 
the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC or the Indian Tribe).

                               BACKGROUND

    The GRIC's reservation was originally established through 
Congressional Action,\1\ and later by Executive Order dated 
August 31, 1876. Over time, the Indian Tribe expanded its 
reservation to approximately 375,000 acres of land located near 
the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona.\2\
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    \1\See Act of February 28, 1859, 11 Stat. 401, Chapter LXVI.
    \2\The Tribe's reservation was further expanded by Executive Orders 
dated October 31, 1876, January 10, 1879, June 14, 1879, May 5, 1882, 
November 15, 1883, March 22, 1911, May 8, 1911, July 31, 1911, December 
6, 1911, June 22, 1913, August 27, 1914, and July 19, 1915.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Blackwater Trading Post is surrounded on three sides by 
GRIC's reservation. The fourth side abuts the frontage of 
Arizona State Highway 287 (Highway). Constructed in 1926, the 
Highway is the likely reason for the establishment of the first 
store, which would later become known as the Blackwater Trading 
Post. The history of the first store and its early proprietors 
is mostly lost to history, but what is known is the Ellis 
family owned and operated the Blackwater Trading Post for 
roughly 60 years. Since at least 1930, the local community, 
including the Indian Tribe, bought, sold, and traded goods such 
as basketry, pottery, and other items at the Blackwater Trading 
Post.
    According to a family member, the Ellis family began 
acquiring artifacts and other items as early as 1944 or 1946. 
In 2010, the Ellis family sold the Blackwater Trading Post and 
all items contained therein to the GRIC. After the sale, an 
inventory was conducted of the Blackwater Trading Post's 
artifact collection; over 1,000 items were catalogued, 
including 126 Akimel O'otham baskets. This collection is now 
housed in GRIC's Huhugam Heritage Center.
    The Blackwater Trading Post has been closed since GRIC 
purchased the land in 2010. At this time, the Indian Tribe is 
undecided on whether to reopen the Blackwater Trading Post or 
use the land for another purpose.

                          SUMMARY OF THE BILL

    The bill, S. 2912, authorizes the Secretary to take 55.3 
acres of land located in Pinal County, Arizona into trust for 
GRIC on the condition that GRIC meet four requirements: 1) 
conveyance of all of its right, title, and interest in and to 
the land to the Secretary; 2) submission of a request to the 
Secretary to take the land into trust for the benefit of the 
Indian Tribe; 3) a survey, if the Secretary determines it be 
necessary, that determines the exact acreage and legal 
description of the land to be placed into trust to the 
satisfaction of the Secretary; and 4) the Indian Tribe pays for 
all survey costs. A map of the surveyed land will be on file 
with the appropriate offices of the Secretary and available for 
public viewing.
    Once the Secretary places the land into trust for the 
Indian Tribe, the land shall be treated as part of GRIC's 
reservation. Under S. 2912, Class II and Class III gaming will 
not be allowed at any time on the land to be taken into trust.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On November 20, 2019, Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ) and 
Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced S. 2912, the Blackwater 
Trading Post Land Transfer Act. The Committee on Indian Affairs 
of the Senate (the Committee) held a legislative hearing on 
June 24, 2020. At this legislative hearing, Mr. Darryl 
LaCounte, Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, testified 
in support of S. 2912. The Committee held a duly called 
business meeting on July 29, 2020, to consider eleven bills, 
including S. 2912. No amendments were filed to S. 2912. The 
Committee passed S. 2912, en bloc with three other bills by 
voice vote, and ordered the bill to be favorably reported.
    A companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 
3160, the Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act, was 
introduced by Representatives Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-1), David 
Schweikert (R-AZ-6), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-7), Ann Kirkpatrick 
(D-AZ-2), Greg Stanton (D-AZ-9), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-8), Paul A. 
Gosar (R-AZ-4), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-5) on June 6, 2019. H.R. 
3160 was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources of the 
House of Representatives. On June 20, 2019, the bill was 
further referred to the Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of 
the United States (the Subcommittee) of the Committee on 
Natural Resources. On October 16, 2019, the Subcommittee held a 
hearing on the bill. The Subcommittee discharged H.R. 3160 and 
the Committee on Natural Resources considered the bill during a 
mark-up session held on January 15, 2020. On the same day, the 
Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives 
ordered the bill to be reported by unanimous consent. The House 
of Representatives passed H.R. 3160 on September 22, 2020 under 
suspension of the rules.

                          NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Placing the land that houses the Blackwater Trading Post 
into trust for GRIC will preserve a historical and cultural 
site that is significant to the Indian Tribe. Under the term of 
GRIC's water settlement, which was signed into law under the 
Arizona Water Settlements Act in 2004, Congress must authorize 
the Secretary to take land located outside GRIC's existing 
reservation boundaries into trust; GRIC is prohibited from 
utilizing the administrative land into trust process for such 
acquisitions.\3\
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    \3\See Arizona Water Settlements Act, Pub. L. No. 108-451, 118 
Stat. 3523 (2004).
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                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 states that the Act may be cited as the 
``Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act.''

Sec. 2. Definitions

    Section 2 provides definitions used throughout the bill, 
including Blackwater Trading Post, Community, Map, Reservation, 
and Secretary.

Sec. 3. Land taken into trust for benefit of the Gila River Indian 
        Community

    Subsection (a) instructs the Secretary to take Blackwater 
Trading Post into trust for the benefit of the Gila River 
Indian Community, after the Indian Tribe--
          (1) Coveys all right, title, and interest in and to 
        the Blackwater Trading Post from the Gila River Indian 
        Community to the Secretary;
          (2) Submits to the Secretary a request to take the 
        Blackwater Trading Post land into trust for the benefit 
        of the Indian Tribe;
          (3) Conducts a survey, if the Secretary determines 
        one is necessary and to their satisfaction, to 
        determine the exact acreage and legal description of 
        the Blackwater Trading Post land; and
          (4) Pays for all costs related to any surveying 
        conducted under paragraph (3).
    Subsection (b) requires that not later than 180 days after 
the Blackwater Trading Post land is taken into trust, a map 
will be placed on file and available to the public for viewing 
with the appropriate offices of the Secretary.
    Subsection (c) treats the land, once placed in trust, as 
part of the Gila River Indian Community's reservation.
    Subsection (d) provides that Class II and Class III gaming 
under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act will not be allowed at 
any time on the land taken into trust under subsection (a).
    Subsection (e) requires that not later than 180 days after 
the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary will provide a 
full metes-and-bounds description of the Blackwater Trading 
Post land to be published in the Federal Register. This 
description will be considered the official description of the 
trust land.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated September 1, 2020, was 
prepared for S. 2912:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, September 1, 2020.
Hon. John Hoeven,
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. 2912, the Blackwater 
Trading Post Land Transfer Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    S. 2912 would direct the Department of the Interior (DOI) 
to take into trust approximately 55 acres of land in Pinal 
County, Arizona, owned by the Gila River Indian Community. 
Under the bill, DOI would hold title to that land for the 
benefit of the tribe. The bill would require the tribe to 
fulfill reporting and surveying requirements in order for DOI 
to take the land into trust, and would prohibit certain types 
of gaming on those lands. Using information provided by DOI, 
CBO estimates that the administrative costs to implement S. 
2912 would not be significant.
    S. 2912 would impose an intergovernmental mandate as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by 
prohibiting state and local governments from taxing land taken 
into trust for the Gila River Indian Community. Information 
from Pinal County about taxes and other receipts associated 
with the land indicates that those foregone revenues would 
total less than $20,000 annually, which is far below the annual 
threshold established in UMRA ($84 million in 2020, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    The bill contains no private-sector mandates.
    On September 1, 2020, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 3160, the Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act, as 
ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on 
January 15, 2020. The two bills are similar, and CBO's 
estimates of their budgetary effects are the same.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Jon Sperl (for 
federal costs) and Rachel Austin (for mandates). The estimate 
was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Director of Budget 
Analysis.

               REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes S. 2912 will have 
minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no communications from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 2912.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    On February 6, 2019, the Committee unanimously approved a 
motion to waive subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate. In the opinion of the Committee, it is 
necessary to dispense with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate to expedite the business of the 
Senate.

                                  [all]