Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hale introduces legislation to benefit Native American Nations

Hale introduces legislation to benefit Native American Nations

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), recently introduced a series of bills to promote the interests of Native American nations in Arizona.

“Native Americans have been contributing to the economic stability of Arizona since before the state was a state. This legislative session, I am focusing on bills that will ensure that Indian Nations receive a fair share of the tax revenues they collect for the state and that they have a seat at the table when leaders are making decisions that affect these communities,” Hale said.

Hale, a strong advocate for indigenous communities, introduced a package of reforms in the Arizona House of Representatives to address access to tax revenues collected on Indian Nations and to include tribal leaders in decision-making positions.

A summary of these bills is below:

HB 2073 – Central Arizona Project board; membership
This bill would require that the CAP board of directors include one non-voting member to ensure Indian Nations are included in discussions about CAP Colorado River water use. The member would be appointed by the governor and selected from a list of three nominees. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona would be responsible for identifying two nominees and the Navajo Nation would be responsible for the third nominee.   
HB 2074 – state transportation board; tribal representation
This bill would require the State Transportation Board to include a representative from an Indian Nation. The board is responsible for planning for the transportation needs of the state. The population of the 22 federally recognized Indian Nations in Arizona exceeds 250,000. These Indian Nations have unique transportation needs that are not currently being met. HB 2074 would help correct that.

HB  2075 – Native American tribes; TPT revenues
The legislation would allocate Transaction Privilege Tax money, or sales tax, back to the Native American lands where it was collected. These funds would be used for infrastructure and community development, including telecommunication infrastructure development and roads on the Indian reservations. Currently, TPT money is collected from businesses not owned by enrolled members operating on Native American lands. The tax money is distributed to the state, counties and municipalities incorporated under state law. Indian Nations are not included in this distribution formula. Tribes will be authorized to use the TPT money as collateral to fund projects.

HB 2076 – Native American tribes; JTED expenses
This bill would provide funding for the operation, maintenance, renewal and capital expenses of the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education District, the only Joint Technical Education District in an Indian Nation. JTEDs provide career and technical education for native students.

“This session I will work closely with my colleagues to make sure the interests of our people are recognized by the state,” Hale said.

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Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.

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