DEA Proposed Rule on Disposal of Controlled Substances

On December 21, 2012, the Federal Register posted a proposed rule by the Drug Enforcement Agency on the Disposal of Controlled Substances. The rule has tribal implications. Comments must be submitted on or before February 19, 2013.

This rule proposes requirements to govern the secure disposal of controlled substances by both DEA registrants and ultimate users. These regulations would implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111–273) by expanding the options available to collect controlled substances from ultimate users for purposes of disposal to include: Take-back events, mail-back programs, and collection receptacle locations. These proposed regulations contain specific language to continue to allow law enforcement agencies to voluntarily conduct take-back events, administer mail-back programs, and maintain collection receptacles. These regulations propose to allow authorized manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, and retail pharmacies to voluntarily administer mail-back programs and maintain collection receptacles. In addition, this proposed rule expands the authority of authorized retail pharmacies to voluntarily maintain collection receptacles at long term care facilities. This proposed rule also reorganizes and consolidates existing regulations on disposal, including the role of reverse distributors.


Defense Authorization Bill on its Way to the President

On December 20, 2012, the House voted 315-107 to adopt the Conference Report on the Defense Authorization bill. Today the Senate voted 81-14 to approve the Conference Report clearing it for President Barack Obama’s signature. The Indian provisions in the bill appear to have remained intact. Below are the Indian provisions in the bill.

Sec. 312 – Amends the Sikes Act (conservation management on government lands) to authorize the Secretary of the military department concerned to enter into cooperative agreements with Indian tribes for land management in areas adjoining military installations and state-owned National Guard installations.

Sec. 553 – Amends 20 U.S.C. 7703 regarding Impact Aid and Payments for eligible federally connected children that affects Indian housing undergoing renovation or rebuilding.

Sec. 1087 – Amends 28 U.S.C. 1442 adds Indian tribes to the definition of “State” for removal of an action from State Court.

Sec. 1632 – Amends 15 U.S.C. 1644 requiring the Small Business Administrator to submit as part of a larger report the concerns of small businesses owned by Indian tribes.

Sec. 1802 – Amends 15 U.S.C. 2203, the Federal Fire and Prevention Control Act to allow Indian tribes to benefit from the Act.

Sec. 3151 – Requires the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, to review and report on abandoned uranium mines in the United States that provided uranium ore for atomic energy defense activities of the United States on Federal, State and Tribal lands.

Sen. Akaka Urges Passage of Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.

On the Senate floor on December 20, 2012, Senator Akaka urged the passage of the Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.

S. 675, the Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, recognizes a Native Hawaiian Governing entity and provides the Secretary of the Interior with the discretion to recognize a Native Hawaiian Governing entity under the Indian Reorganization Act. The bill also includes a Carcieri fix for a Native Hawaiian Governing enity should Native Hawaiians be subject to a challenge that they were not “under Federal jurisdiction” in 1934.

A hearing has not been held on the bill but Senator Akaka states that the bill is “supported by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Interior. It has the strong support of Hawaii’s Governor, the State legislature, and a large majority of the people of Hawaii. Our bill has the endorsement of the American Bar Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and groups throughout the Native Hawaiian community.”

Senate Passes Alaska Native Bill

On December 20, 2012, the Senate passed an amended version of H.R. 443, to provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska. Because the bill was amended it will need to be passed by the House again before enactment into law.

Sens. Tester and Collins – Tribal Stafford Act Amendment does not apply to Tribes in Maine

In the Congressional Record for December 20, 2012.

   Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise today to engage my colleague, Senator Tester, in a colloquy regarding language he authored in this bill that would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This language would authorize chief executives of federally recognized tribes to submit a request for a major disaster or emergency declaration directly to the President of the United States.

   The principal effect of this language would be to eliminate the current requirement that tribal chief executives submit such requests to the Governor of the State in which the tribal reservation is located; tribal chief executives would be permitted to submit such requests to the President without first obtaining the Governor’s approval.

   The tribes of Maine–the Penobscot, the Passamaquoddy, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs–have a jurisdictional relationships with the State of Maine which is unique among the 50 States. Although, based on my analysis, this language would not in any way affect the relationship between the State of Maine and the tribes of Maine, to make this clear, I would like to pose some questions to the Senator regarding the intent of the language.

   The jurisdictional relationship between the tribes of Maine and the State of Maine is set forth in the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act, the latter having been enacted by the Maine State Legislature and ratified and approved by Congress when it enacted the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act.

   If the language the Senator authored was to be enacted into law, would this in any way change the relationship of the State of Maine and the tribes of Maine?

   Mr. TESTER. No. I understand that the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act not only recognized the uniqueness and significance of that jurisdictional arrangement but specifically provided that, following the enactment of the Settlement Act, no future congressional legislation would in any way alter or affect that arrangement unless Congress specifically so provided. This requirement is set forth in Title 25, Section 1735, of the United States Code.

   Ms. COLLINS. Did the Senator take Section 1735 into account in his drafting of this legislation?

   Mr. TESTER. Yes. I understood that, given the requirement that Section 1735 imposed on Congress, this provision would not and should not apply within or to the State of Maine unless Congress specifically so provided. Knowing that Section 1735 operated to that effect, I did not include specific language making this legislation inapplicable to Maine, as such language was unnecessary. Our Senate colleagues should understand that this legislation in no way supersedes Section 1735.

   Ms. COLLINS. Did my colleague also consider the unique foundation for the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act, as well as the subsequent acts for the Houlton Band and the Aroostook Band?

   Mr. TESTER. Yes, I understood that the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act constitute statutory settlement documents. Therefore, our colleagues should understand that the current legislation respects the intent of the parties to Maine’s historic and complex settlement and does not in any way disturb the settlement agreement or the statutory construct on which that settlement rests.

   The intent of this legislation is to improve communication, response times, and recovery of disasters in Indian Country while better respecting tribal sovereignty. I understand that tribes in Maine have a unique relationship with the State of Maine and nothing in this Act should be interpreted to change or degrade that relationship.

   This legislation, if enacted into law, would in no way change the relationship between the State of Maine and the tribes of Maine. That means that, even after the enactment of this legislation, if any of the tribes of Maine wished to obtain a declaration from the President that a major disaster existed, they would have to bring their request to the Governor of Maine, who would have to consider the request in accordance with existing standards and procedures but who would retain the discretion to deny that request.

   Ms. COLLINS. I appreciate the time and attention of my colleague from Montana, Senator Tester, regarding the intent of this language, as well as the care that he took in crafting this legislation.

Sen. Leahy on VAWA Reauthorization

In the Congressional Record for December 20, 2012, Senator Leahy made the following statement on VAWA Reauthorization.

   Mr. President, I have been saying for weeks and months that we are overdue to pass into law the Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which the Senate approved in April with 68 bipartisan votes. I am disappointed that the House still has not picked up this bipartisan effort and that we are not getting the job done this year. I want everyone to know that I will be back next year, and we will get it done.

   Just yesterday we were reminded again why this legislation is so important. In Colorado, a man just released from jail on domestic violence charges shot his way into a house, murdering his ex-girlfriend, and her sister, and her sister’s husband, before killing himself. We have seen enough horrific violence. It is past time to act.

   The Leahy-Crapo bill would support the use of techniques proven to help identify high-risk cases and prevent domestic violence homicides. It will help us go further to prevent domestic and sexual violence and to provide services and support to all victims.

   For several weeks, I have been advocating a compromise on a key provision aimed at addressing the epidemic of domestic violence against native women. I want to compliment my partner on this bill, Senator Crapo, who has been working hard to try to bridge the divide and address concerns with the provision in our bill that gives limited jurisdiction to tribal courts to make sure that no perpetrators of domestic violence are immune from prosecution. Senator Crapo has pushed hard and has indicated a willingness to compromise significantly, as have I. Sadly, others have continued to draw lines which would ultimately deny assistance to some of the most vulnerable victims. That is unacceptable.

   I appreciate that there have at last been some renewed discussions about this bill in the House of Representatives but that is not enough. The only way to reauthorize VAWA this year is for the House to take up and pass the Senate-passed bill. If the House Republican leadership refuses to do that in the final days of this Congress, it is a shame.

   I remain steadfast in my resolve to get this done and pass a good VAWA bill that protects all victims. I know Senator Crapo shares my resolve. I know every woman in the Senate and many other Senators and House members share our resolve. I know President Obama and Vice President Biden share our resolve.

   We will be back next year. We will introduce a good bill, and we will pass it through the Senate. We will continue our discussions, and we will work tirelessly to have a good bill enacted into law. This is not the end of our efforts to renew and improve VAWA to more effectively help all victims of domestic and sexual violence.

   We know that the epidemic of violence against native women is appalling, with a recent study finding that almost three in five native women have been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners. We know that immigrant women are particularly vulnerable, with their immigration status another weapon that abusers can use to keep power and prevent reporting. We know that some victims cannot access needed services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We know that women and girls on college campuses are too much at risk, and more must be done to protect them. The list goes on.

   We have shown a willingness to compromise but we must make progress on all of these issues. We must make things better, and never make things worse, for the most vulnerable of victims.

   The community of advocates and service providers who work every day with victims of these terrible crimes is inspiring. It was their advice on the real needs of real victims that shaped this legislation, and they have fought with us every day to get this bill enacted. I want them to know how much I value the work they do and that I will not abandon their cause. We will continue working together, and we will reauthorize VAWA.

   We have seen enough violence. If we cannot get the Leahy-Crapo bill over the finish line this year, we will come back next year, and we will get it done. I look forward to other Senators joining us as we continue this vital effort.

Demonstration Grants for Indian Children

Published in the Federal Register for December 20, 2012 is a Notice inviting applications for Fiscal Year 2013 Applications for New Awards; Indian Education– Demonstration Grants for Indian Children. The purpose of the Demonstration Grants for Indian Children program is to provide financial assistance to projects that develop, test, and demonstrate the effectiveness of services and programs to improve the educational opportunities and achievement of preschool, elementary, and secondary Indian students.

The Notice is here.