The tribe’s housing authority requested an ordinance be approved by city commissioners at a July 20 meeting but Vice Mayor James Harrod instead made a motion to table the item for 30 days. He said at that time that he hoped that action would prompt tribal leaders to discuss with the city the possibility of an interchange at Interstate 40 and Bryan Street.
Harrod also spoke out about an article in last week’s edition of The Countywide & Sun regarding a different tribe — the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. He said the article, which was about an opinion issued by Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, was incorrect.
The article, in large part, referred to the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act of 2012 and the determination by the BIA that “improvements, leasehold interests and activities conducted on Indian trust land and restricted lands pursuant to a tribal lease under approved HEARTH Act regulations, are exempt from state taxation due to federal pre-emption.”
Harrod said the Act was not anything that was “active” and was nothing more than a “House bill resolution introduced in 2010.”
“To the newspapers, he printed some information about the HEARTH Act; I did a little research and in about 10 minutes, I found out it’s not actually ever been approved — it’s a House bill resolution introduced in 2010, never been voted on, never been presented to the Congress or the House, so it’s not anything that’s active,” Harrod said. “The BIA uses it as maybe it’s giving them permission to do something but it’s actually never been approved, never passed Congress, never been out of committee. So my suggestion would be before we print something that says we’re not subject to taxes and so forth, we need to check it out to make sure that’s actually what the bill says and that’s not what it says.”
However, research by The Countywide & Sun found that the HEARTH Act of 2012 was passed by the House on May 5, 2012, and the Senate by unanimous consent on July 17, 2012. It was then signed into law by President Barack Obama July 30, 2012.