CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, December 17, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider S. 3193, the Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on May 16, 2012, by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. The bill was approved in the Senate, with an amendment, by unanimous consent on September 22, 2012.
S. 3193 would revise and clarify the description of approximately 87 acres of land taken into trust for the benefit of the Barona Band of Mission Indians in California in order to exclude private property that was included in the trust lands under the Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2004. The purpose of the bill is to clarify that private, non-Indian land will not be considered to be held in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians and will not be considered a part of its reservation.
The Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2004 included provisions that designated certain parcels of land to be held in trust by the federal government for the benefit of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. The land was to be used for the purpose of building a pipeline for conveying water to the Band's reservation. However, according to Senate Report 112-207, the Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2004 misidentified the lands in question, creating uncertainty as to which lands were to be held in trust.
Due to the misidentified legal description of the land held in trust, private landowners of misidentified land have been unable to sell or modify their property without permission from the Department of Interior or the Barona Band of Mission Indians. In addition, the Barona Band of Mission Indians has been unable to proceed with its plans to construct the pipeline. By clarifying the correct land held in trust, S. 3119 would clear the titles to the landowners’ and the Band’s respective properties.
CBO estimates that the bill would have no significant impact on the federal budget.