Native American Issues

News & Analysis as of

Despite Changing Economic Reality, Federal Court Holds Indian Tribes Have Sovereign Immunity in Bankruptcy, Absent Waiver

As the Indian gaming industry continues to thrive, Indian tribes are increasingly engaging in other commercial endeavors including banking, construction, energy, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail and more. Based on a...more

Update on Battle Over the Navajo Mark

In a surprising move last week, Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries (collectively “Urban Outfitters”) moved to withdraw their motion for partial summary judgment on the secondary liability claims being brought against them...more

Appropriations Subcommittee Rejects Efforts to Strip Funding Bill of Pro-Employer Riders

The day after the House Appropriations Committee released a draft bill that would significantly limit certain federal agency rules and initiatives, the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education held a...more

Draft Appropriations Bill Seeks to De-Fund Various Regulatory Efforts

A draft House appropriations bill to fund various federal agencies, including the Department of Labor, for Fiscal Year 2016 includes several provisions that would effectively halt a number of controversial regulatory efforts....more

SBA's Proposed Rule Provides Guidelines on the Common Administrative Services Exception to Affiliation for All Tribal Entities

The SBA’s February 2015 proposed rule concerning the expanded mentor-protégé program received much attention and analysis, much (deservedly) focused on the new program. However, one aspect of the proposed rule could, if made...more

Alaska Legislature Approves Lower Quorum Requirements for Alaska Native Corporations

The Alaska state legislature recently passed a bill reducing quorum requirements for certain Alaska Native Corporations at their annual shareholder meetings. Under HB 149, which is expected to be signed into law by Alaska...more

Week in Review – June 2015

Special Session – Not Yet - Governor Mark Dayton and House Republican leaders on Monday tentatively agreed to a two-year school spending budget, moving them one step closer to avoiding a partial government shutdown...more

Lawyer Who Started Fight Over "R-Word" Mascot Awaits Decision

About a quarter century ago, Steve Baird — at the time, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Iowa law school clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. — was spending most of his free weekends working on an...more

Does Rule 23(e) Require that Settlement Class Members Receive Notice of Modification to Cy Pres Remedy?

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently held that a modification to a settlement agreement was not subject to the procedural protections of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) because it would...more

Prisoner in Seventh Circuit to Receive Venison and Religious Headband; Impact of Hobby Lobby and Holt on the Land Use World...

Last week, we reported on a case where the Southern District of Florida decided against the Florida Department of Corrections, finding its refusal to provide kosher meals to inmates violates the Religious Land Use and...more

California's Office of Planning and Research Releases Draft Technical Advisory for Formal Native American Consultations Under AB...

Comments on the Draft Advisory due by June 1 - The Office of Planning and Research released a Draft Advisory earlier this month entitled “Discussion Draft Technical Advisory: AB 52 and Tribal Cultural Resources in CEQA”...more

Use of NAVAJO – Is Urban Outfitters Infringing or Not?

Battles continue to wage over use of the “Navajo” and “Navaho” marks in New Mexico federal court. The Navajo Nation (“the Nation”) sued Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries, including one of my favorite retailers,...more

Once 8(a) Competitive, Not Always 8(a) Competitive

Unlike other sole source authorities for small business programs, such as that recently granted to the WOSB program via the 2015 NDAA, a recent decision from GAO confirms that the sole source authority given to the 8(a)...more

House of Representatives Passes National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2016

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. Congressman Young’s amendment would replace Section 811 of the FY 2010, which introduced...more

Federal Funding for Water Projects and Indian Water Settlements

In recent years, the parties proposing Indian water settlements have struggled to find federal funding, and budget offsets, to pay for settlement projects. But a concurrent by the House and Senate Budget Committee may pave a...more

Wisconsin Indian Tribe Prevails – State Cannot Ban Electronic Poker on Reservation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has overturned a federal district court ruling that had permitted the State of Wisconsin to prohibit the Ho Chunk tribe from offering electronic poker on its reservation...more

Gaming Legal News: Volume 8, Number 8

The Dance Known as “Texas Two Step” - The two-step is a partner dance, consisting of a “leader” (traditionally a man) and a “follower” (traditionally a woman). The leader determines the movements and patterns of the...more

IRS Issues Notice Addressing Impact of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 on Existing IRS Guidance

On April 16, 2015, the IRS released Notice 2015-34 clarifying the effect of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-168, 128 Stat. 1883 (2014) (the “Act”), which added new Section 139E to the...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Tribal General Welfare Exclusion and Safe Harbors - Notice 2015-34 Provides Instruction on the Tribal...

On April 16, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") released Notice 2015-34, its first guidance on general welfare since President Obama signed the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act (the "Act") into law in September...more

Michigan Tax Update: Ballot Initiative Good for Tribes

The Michigan legislature has approved a ballot initiative that will be submitted for voter approval in May 2015. If approved, the initiative will impact Tribes in two important ways...more

Transgender Native American Prisoner Denied Access to Sweat Lodge and Unsatisfied with the Alternative Sues under RLUIPA: More on...

Corrections Corporation of America (Dist. Idaho 2015) because the decision reflects a recent trend in RLUIPA cases: close judicial scrutiny as to whether a compelling government interest is furthered by “the least restrictive...more

New California Internet Poker Bills Seek Political Compromise and Consensus, But May Further Divide Stakeholders in the Absence of...

Efforts to pass online poker legislation in California have failed for years, in large part due to the failure to achieve consensus on the most critical issues affecting stakeholders. California is now poised to consider new...more

Michigan Court of Appeals Reverses Adoption of Indian Child; Cites Michigan Adoptive Placement Preference Standards

As mentioned in a recent blog post regarding child custody proceedings involving Indian children in Michigan, significant legal and procedural requirements must be met before an Indian child may be adopted. ...more

Federal Government Takes First Steps to Impose Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

On March 20, 2015, the Interior Department announced the issuance of a final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on Federal and American Indian lands. The rule was initially proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)...more

Californian court puts tribal online bingo website on ice

A Native American tribe’s attempt to launch an internet bingo website has faced setbacks following a recent court order temporarily restraining the site’s operation. In its decision, the Court made a number of important...more

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