Piliero Mazza & Pargament, PLLC Vol. 3, Issue 1 January 2001

Addressing Tribal and Alaska Native Corporation Legal and Business Issues


The articles shown here are excerpts -- if you'd like to subscribe to Tribal Advocate, please contact Susan Brock at (202) 857-1000 or at


A R T I C L E S


SMALL BUSINESS Proposed SBA Rule May Provide Significant Advantages to ANCs and Tribally-Owned Businesses


GAMING National Indian Gaming Commission Requests Comments Before Revising Minimum Internal Control Standards


INDIAN HOUSING Department of Housing and Urban Development Proposes Amendments to Indian Community Development Block Grant Program Regulations


FEDERAL Final Rule Issues for Financial Assistance and Social Services Programs


INTERVIEW Tribal Advocate Speaks with Paul Moorehead, Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE The 106th Congress in Review


ASK THE ADVOCATE Executive Order 13175


SMALL BUSINESS

Proposed SBA Rule May Provide Significant Advantages to ANCs and Tribally-Owned Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration's ("SBA") proposed rule is designed to make it easier for 8(a) Program participants to market 8(a) contracts in the future. On November 8, 2000, the SBA proposed amendments to its 8(a) Program regulations that would enable procuring agencies to directly accept requirements for award through the 8(a) Program. The proposal is designed to make the 8(a) Program a more attractive alternative for procuring agencies and is aimed toward increasing contracting opportunities for 8(a) firms. Because the proposed rule would lighten the SBA's administrative workload, it would also provide the SBA district offices with more time to assist participants with business development and procurement issues.

Under the SBA's current regulations, procuring agencies must send an offering letter to the SBA for acceptance of a requirement to be awarded as an 8(a) contract. Under the proposed regulations, the SBA would be permitted to delegate its authority to accept requirements for the 8(a) Program to procuring activities. The SBA would remain responsible for determining an 8(a) participant's eligibility for award, however, this would be done on an annual basis as opposed to a contract-by-contract basis, as it is currently done. Procuring agencies would be able to search the PRO-Net System to determine whether a particular company is eligible for the award of 8(a) contracts.

 


GAMING

National Indian Gaming Commission Requests Comments Before Revising Minimum Internal Control Standards

In an "Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making" published on November 27, 2000 in the Federal Register, the National Indian Gaming Commission ("Commission") announced its intention to revise the Minimum Internal Control Standards ("MICS") for gaming operations on Indian lands. The MICS, which were established by the Commission on January 5, 1999, are part of a comprehensive system for regulating gambling activities on Indian land and are intended to ensure the integrity of Indian gaming operations and safeguard this source of Tribal revenues. The MICS are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulation at 25 C.F.R. Part 542.

In the Advance Notice, the Commission explains that it recognized from the outset that periodic revisions to the MICS would be necessary to keep up with evolving technologies and practices in the gaming industry. The Commission believes that such revisions are necessary to ensure that "tribal gaming operations are not locked into internal control systems that contained unworkable requirements or that placed those operations at a competitive disadvantage."

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INDIAN HOUSING

Department of Housing and Urban Development Proposes Amendments to Indian Community Development Block Grant Program Regulations

On November 6, 2000, the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") proposed changes to the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program ("ICDBGP") that would incorporate the ICDBGP into HUD's SuperNOFA process. The SuperNOFA approach, in which the majority of HUD's competitive funds are announced in one document, is designed to simplify the grant application process, bring consistency and uniformity to the grant application and selection process, and accelerate the availability of funding.

The ICDBGP provides eligible applicants with direct grants for use in developing viable Indian and Alaskan Native communities, including housing, community, and economic opportunities. ICDBGP funds are distributed as annual competitive grants through the Office of Native American Programs. All federally-recognized Indian Tribes and Alaskan Native Villages are eligible to participate in the grant program.

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FEDERAL

Final Rule Issued for Financial Assistance and Social Services Programs

The Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA") has issued the final rule implementing amendments to the Financial Assistance and Social Services Program regulations. The amended regulations took effect on November 20, 2000.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on May 6, 1999, and took into account several factors in proposing changes to the then-current regulations. The last revisions to these regulations occurred in 1985. The factors considered by the BIA in the proposed regulations included the following:

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INTERVIEW

Tribal Advocate Speaks with Paul Moorehead, Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

On December 8, 2000, the Tribal Advocate had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Moorehead, Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee (SIAC), regarding his views on several issues of importance to tribes and ANCs. The SIAC has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to the problems and opportunities of Indians. The Committee is chaired by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), and the Vice-Chairman is Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI).

Tribal Advocate (TA): Tell us about your background and how you came to your current position as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Paul Moorehead (PM): Both my undergraduate and law school educations focused on international relations, international law and economic development. After graduation, I enjoyed stints with private law firms, international development corporations and other entities. Prior to coming to the SIAC, I held the position of Government Affairs/Legislative Director for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). In 1997, I came to the SIAC as Chief Counsel, and in 1999, I assumed my current position as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the SIAC.

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The 106th Congress in Review

As the Tribal Advocate goes to press, the 106th Congress is preparing to adjourn its post-election session. Although many important pieces of legislation affecting Native American and Alaska Native interests were passed and signed into law during the term, several matters remain pending. Those bills that are pending when the 106th Congress adjourns will die and will require introduction when in the 107th Congress convenes. (See Interview with Paul Moorehead in this Issue.)

Several freestanding measures of interest to Native Americans that passed the House and Senate in October have recently been signed by President Clinton into public law. Some of the major pieces of legislation are described below.

The Indian Tribal Regulatory Reform and Business Development Act of 1999 establishes an office within the Department of the Interior to review laws and regulations that affect business development on Indian lands. The stated goal of the newly-created office is to identify and adjust or remove any laws or regulations that are cumbersome to Indian businesses. Likewise, the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion and Tourism Act seeks to promote business development through increased efficiency and consolidation. The law centralizes Native American business development initiatives within the newly-created Office of Native American Business Development within the Department of Commerce.

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ASK THE ADVOCATE

Q What is the purpose of the President's most recent Executive Order concerning indian tribal Governments?

A Executive Order 13175 was signed by President Clinton on November 6, 2000, to promote regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of federal policies that have tribal implications, strengthen the United States government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes and reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates upon Indian tribes. The Order establishes fundamental principles that should be applied in formulating and implementing policies that have tribal implications, as well as criteria for the formulation and implementation of such policies.

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