Piliero Mazza & Pargament, PLLC Vol. 3, Issue 9 October 2001

Addressing Tribal and Alaska Native Corporation Legal and Business Issues

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GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING  A-76 Award to Alaska Native Corporations Gets Mixed Reviews

GAMING - Supreme Court Readies for Argument in Pull Tab Taxation Case

COURT WATCH - Supreme Court Sets Guidelines for Internet Re-Publication

ASK THE ADVOCATE (Employment) - Employers' Obligations and Rights with Regard to Reservists and National Guard Members

TRIBAL LAND - Update on Land Acquisition Regulations


A-76 Award to Alaska Native Corporations Gets Mixed Reviews

In a landmark award last June, the Department of Defense’s National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) awarded Chenega Corporation and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation a fifteen-year, $2 billion information technology/information services (IT/IS) contract. Advocates for Alaska Native business development were pleased, though not everyone shared their enthusiasm. In St. Louis, Missouri, where NIMA will transition some 600 federal jobs to the private sector, officials from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) were less enthusiastic about the award, labeling the award process "coercive" and criticizing privatization in general.

The contract is the largest of its kind ever offered to a native company, and IT/IS is a new contracting arena for those companies. To win the business, the two companies, both of which were formed pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, established a third company, Native Joint Venture Corporation. The contract was awarded as a sole source procurement under the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) set-aside program.



Supreme Court Readies for Argument in Pull Tab Taxation Case

On October 2, 2001, the Supreme Court willhear arguments in a case involving the federal taxation of pull tab activities. The case of The Chickasaw Nation v. United States will resolve a dispute between two Oklahoma tribes and the federal government. The case could also define more clearly a tribe’s obligation to pay taxes related to wagering activities.

The case involves the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation, both Oklahoma tribes. As part of the Tribes’ business activities, both sell "pull tabs." A pull tab is a card or ticket that contains five windows covered with tabs. To play a pull tab, a buyer pulls back the tab to display a group of symbols that lets the buyer know whether they have won any money. Each series of pull tabs sold to the Tribes contains a fixed number of prizes.



Supreme Court Sets Guidelines for Internet Re-Publication

In order to compete effectively with larger businesses, many small and tribally-owned businesses are creating electronic versions of their company newsletters, brochures, and other publications, and publishing these materials on their web sites. While Internet communication can be a cost-effective tool in allowing businesses to reach larger marketing audiences, employers should ensure that their activities do not violate copyright laws pertaining to electronic re-publication. In New York Times Co., Inc. v. Tasini, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that the electronic re-publication of certain materials may expose companies to claims of copyright infringement by those who have not consented to the distribution of their material in that manner.



Employers' Obligations and Rights with Regard to Reservists and National Guard Members 

In the wake of the recent attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., President Bush has authorized the mobilization of 50,000 military reservists and National Guard members. Under this mobilization, up to one million citizen-soldiers may be called to active duty, although the military expects a much smaller mobilization.

In light of this mobilization effort, we have received several inquiries regarding an employer’s obligations and rights with regard to reservists and National Guard members. Some of the most frequently asked questions are as follows:

What legal protections are available to employees who are called to military service?

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. § 4301 et seq., prohibits discrimination against any person obligated to perform uniformed military service. Such protection applies to initial employment, re-employment after military service, retention in employment, promotion, or any other benefit of employment.



Update on Land Acquisition Regulations

On August 1, 2001, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) requested additional comments
on the land acquisition regulations that were published in the Federal Register on January 16, 2001. The comment period ended on September 12, 2001. At the time the Tribal Advocate went to press, the BIA had received over 100 submissions from tribes, organizations, individuals, and state and local governments. Because the BIA was still receiving comments that had been mailed on or before September 12, a final count was not available. However, of the approximately 116 submissions received, an overwhelming percentage of them were from tribal representatives.



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