CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, December 1, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5050, the May 31, 1918 Act Repeal Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5050 was introduced by Rep. Michael Simpson (R-ID) on July 9, 2014 and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. The bill was marked up on September 18, 2014 and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.
H.R. 5050 repeals the Act of May 31, 1918, which authorized the Secretary of the Interior to set aside land from Fort Hall Indian Reservation to a local government for use as a townsite. The bill gives the Tribes the first right of refusal to purchase at fair market value land within the Fort Hall Townsite. H.R. 5050 directs the federal government to hold in trust for the benefit of the Tribes any land in the Fort Hall Townsite that is acquired by the Tribes.
The Fort Hall Indian Reservation, which is located in the State of Idaho, was created by Executive Order in 1867. “On May 31, 1918, Congress passed a bill to authorize the establishment of a town site on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho. The Act of 1918 authorized the Secretary of the Interior to set aside and reserve for town-site purposes a tract of land within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.” According to the House Natural Resources Committee, “the town‐site envisioned under the 1918 Act never came to fruition, and the land is now owned by Bingham County. The Tribes ultimately seek restoration of the lands into tribal ownership because the lands are centrally located on the Reservation.” Due to a 2009 Memorandum of Agreement with Bingham County, the Tribes already have exclusive use of the land and manage all property issues, including government services on the land. H.R. 5050 repeals the May 31, 1918 Act that took the land from the Tribes and gives them first right of refusal to purchase the land at fair market value.
 Testimony of Lawrence Roberts, Principal Deputy Assistance Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior Before the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 5050, the May 31, 1918 Act Repeal Act (July 29, 2014).
According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 5050 would not significantly impact the federal budget. The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.