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General Memorandum 16-077

General Memorandum 16-077
Indian Trader Regulatory Update Announced by Interior: Comments Requested and Tribal Consultations Scheduled

December 9, 2016, the Department of the Interior (DOI) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) in the FEDERAL REGISTER seeking comments on whether and if so, how, to comprehensively update the Indian Trader regulations (25 CFR part 140) in a manner that is consistent with the federal policies of tribal self-determination and self-governance. The Indian Trader regulations are among DOI's most outdated: they were promulgated in 1957 and have not been comprehensively updated since 1965. Tribal consultation sessions have been scheduled across the country for February and March of 2017 on the dates listed below. A copy of the FEDERAL REGISTER notice with information on how to submit comments is attached. Comments on the ANPRM are due April 10, 2017.

DOI explains "The Department recognizes that many Tribes have enacted comprehensive laws concerning economic activity occurring on Tribal lands and that Tribal courts often retain jurisdiction over Indian traders. This ANPRM solicits information regarding current Tribal regulatory activity over trade occurring within Indian Country. Additionally, the Department recognizes that dual taxation on Tribal lands can undermine the Federal policies supporting Tribal economic development, self-determination, and strong Tribal governments. Dual taxation of traders and activities conducted by traders and purchasers can impede a Tribe's ability to attract investment to Indian lands where such investment and participation are critical to the vitality of Tribal economies. Tribal communities continue to struggle with unmet needs, such as in their schools and housing, as well as economic development, to name a few. Moreover, beyond the operation of their governments, Tribes continually pursue funding for infrastructure, roads, dams, irrigation systems and water delivery. Thus, the Department solicits information under this ANPRM about how revisions to the regulations could promote economic viability and sustainability in Indian Country."

DOI seeks comments on the following seven questions:
1. Should the Federal government address trade occurring in Indian Country through an updated 25 CFR part 140, and why?
2. Are there certain components of the existing rule that should be kept, and if so, why?
3. How can revisions to the existing rule ensure that persons who conduct trade are reputable and that there are mechanisms in place to address traders who violate Federal or Tribal law?
4. How do Tribes currently regulate trade in Indian Country and how might revisions to 25 CFR part 140 help Tribes regulate trade in Indian Country?
5. What types of trade should be regulated and what type of trader should be subject to regulation?
6. How might revisions to the regulations promote economic viability and sustainability in Indian Country?
7. What services do Tribes currently provide to individuals or entities doing business in Indian Country and what role do tax revenues play in providing those services?
Tribal Consultation Schedule. DOI will be hosting tribal consultation sessions on the ANPRM at the following dates and tentative locations. Specifics on the venue for each location will be provided in a subsequent FEDERAL REGISTER notice.

Date Time (local time zone) Location
Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Seattle area.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Southeastern U.S.
Thursday, March 2, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Southern California.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Billings, Montana.
Thursday, March 9, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Rapid City, South Dakota.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Prior Lake, Minnesota.
Thursday, March 16, 2017 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m Northeastern U.S.

We encourage tribes to submit comments on the Department of Interior's Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM). Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance submitting comments.

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Inquiries may be directed to:
Jennifer Hughes (jhughes@hobbstraus.com)
Wendy Pearson (wpearson@hobbsstraus.com)
Michael Willis (mwillis@hobbsstraus.com)

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