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                                                          Calendar No. 38
                                                         
                                                        
117th Congress }                                              {    Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session   }                                              {    117-10

======================================================================



 
TO AUTHORIZE THE SEMINOLE TRIBE OF FLORIDA TO LEASE OR TRANSFER CERTAIN 
                      LAND, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                 April 14, 2021.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 108]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 108) to authorize the Seminole Tribe of Florida to 
lease or transfer certain land, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of the bill is to authorize the Seminole Tribe 
of Florida (Tribe) to convey or otherwise transfer land and 
interests in land owned in fee by the Tribe without regard to 
language of the Indian Non-Intercourse Act, codified at 25 
U.S.C. 177.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Seeking to diversify and strengthen its economic 
development enterprises that support essential services for 
Tribal members, the Seminole Tribe of Florida established a 
real estate investment fund to invest in commercial properties. 
However, due to restrictions set out in the Indian Non-
Intercourse Act, the Tribe is unable to secure a mortgage 
through its investment fund for fee property without 
Congressional approval while hindering the Tribe's ability to 
manage its asset in a timely manner.
    Originally enacted in 1790, the Indian Non-Intercourse Act 
reserved the exclusive right to acquire Indian lands to the 
federal government. The Act prevents the transfer, sale, lease, 
or other land conveyances owned by an Indian Tribe without 
Congressional approval. This prohibition applies to both trust 
and fee lands, regardless of how the land was obtained, and was 
originally intended to protect Indian Tribes by preventing the 
loss of their lands.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On January 28, 2021, Senators Rubio and Rick Scott 
introduced S. 108, a bill to authorize the Seminole Tribe of 
Florida to lease or transfer certain land, and for other 
purposes. The Senate referred the bill to the Committee on the 
same day. The Committee held a duly called business meeting to 
consider nine bills, including S. 108, on March 10, 2021. No 
amendments were filed to S. 108. The Committee passed the bill 
with eight other bills by voice vote and ordered it to be 
favorably reported.
    On January 4, 2021, Representatives Soto, Deutch, Hastings, 
Crist, Wasserman Schultz, and Mast introduced a house companion 
bill, H.R. 164, a bill to authorize the Seminole Tribe of 
Florida to lease or transfer certain land, and for other 
purposes, in the House of Representatives. The House of 
Representatives referred the bill to the Committee on Natural 
Resources on the same day. On February 18, 2021, the bill was 
referred to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for 
Indigenous Peoples of the United States. No further action has 
been taken on H.R. 164.
    On June 25, 2020, Senators Rubio and Rick Scott introduced 
S. 4079, a bill to authorize the Seminole Tribe of Florida to 
lease or transfer certain land, and for other purposes, which 
was referred to the Committee. On September 23, 2020, the 
Committee held a legislative hearing on S. 4079. At the 
hearing, Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman, Marcellus Osceola 
Jr., testified and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. 
Department of the Interior, provided written testimony. On 
November 18, 2020, the Committee held a duly called business 
meeting at which S. 4079 was considered with ten other bills. 
The Committee ordered the bill, without amendment, to be 
reported favorably to the Senate by voice vote. S. 4079 without 
amendment passed the Senate by unanimous consent on December 
18, 2020. The bill was received in the House of Representatives 
on December 21, 2020 and held at the desk. No further action 
was taken on S. 4079.
    A House companion bill, H.R. 7565, a bill to authorize the 
Seminole Tribe of Florida to lease or transfer certain land, 
and for other purposes, was introduced by Representatives Soto, 
Crist, Mast, Wasserman Schultz, Deutch, Hastings, and Diaz-
Balart, on July 9, 2020, and referred to the House Committee on 
Natural Resources. On August 5, 2020, the bill was referred to 
the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples 
of the United States. Representative Frankel was added as a 
cosponsor on September 16, 2020. On September 24, 2020, the 
House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of 
the United States held a legislative hearing on H.R. 7565. No 
further action was taken on H.R. 7565.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1--Approval not required to validate certain land transactions 
        of the Seminole Tribe of Florida

    Section 1(a) would allow for the Seminole Tribe of Florida 
to transfer all or any part of its interest in real property 
that is not held in trust by the United States but land the 
Tribe owns in fee without further Congressional approval.
    Section 1(b) makes clear that nothing in this section 
authorizes the Seminole Tribe of Florida to transfer all or any 
part of an interest in real property that is held in trust by 
the United States for the benefit of the Seminole Tribe of 
Florida; or affects the operation of any law governing leasing, 
selling, conveying, warranting, or otherwise transferring any 
interest in any real property that is held in trust by the 
United States for the benefit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, April 6, 2021.
Hon. Brian Schatz,
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. 108, a bill to 
authorize the Seminole Tribe of Florida to lease or transfer 
certain land, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jon Speri.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    
    

    S. 108 would allow the Seminole Tribe of Florida to sell, 
lease, or otherwise transfer any property owned by the tribe 
that is not held in trust by the United States. Under current 
law, the tribe must receive Congressional approval before such 
a transfer. Compensation for transfers would be paid directly 
to the Seminole Tribe and such transactions would not affect 
the federal budget.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. 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 that S. 108 will 
have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no communication from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 108.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    On February 11, 2021, 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.