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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country last week.

President Biden Approves Disaster Funds for Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians

On Friday, FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians to supplement tribal recovery efforts in the areas affected by the severe winter storm and flooding Feb. 23-26, 2023.

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Public Assistance federal funding is available to tribal governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm and flooding on tribal lands.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures.

Benigno Bern Ruiz has been named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas. Additional designations may be made if warranted by the results of further assessments.

Interior Departtment Announces Not Invisible Act Commission Hearing

The Department of the Interior announced on Friday the Not Invisible Act Commission will conduct a public hearing in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. - CDT. 

The Not Invisible Act, authored by then-Rep. Haaland (D-NM) and passed into law in October 2020, established the Commission as a cross-jurisdictional advisory committee composed of both federal and non-federal members including law enforcement, Tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, family members of missing and murdered individuals, and survivors. 

The location in Minneapolis was not announced, but will be provided at a later date.

NOAA Announces Revision to Its Guidelines for National Standards

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Fisheries division announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, which would allow revisions to the division’s Guidelines for National Standards, specifically sections (NS) 4 (allocations), 8 (communities), and 9 (bycatch).

The announcement was applauded by Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK), who is the first Alaska Native ever elected to Congress and has worked hard on protection of fisheiries since serving in Congress.

“Updating these key sections of the Guidelines for National Standards was one of my top requests when I first met with NOAA officials shortly after the special election last year,” Peltola said. “These standards establish the goals and limits of our fisheries regulations, including allocations, impacts on fishery-dependent communities, and bycatch reduction. It has been 15 years since they were last updated, during which time we have seen population crashes in multiple species with devastating impacts to Alaska, especially to subsistence users. I am encouraged by this initial step from NOAA and look forward to concrete policy improvements following the public comment period. This is one key piece of my all-of-the-above approach to restoring Alaska salmon runs, and my office will be following the public comment period closely. I encourage all interested Alaskans to participate and share their priorities—this is our chance to help shape how federal fishery law is interpreted for years to come.”

The public comment period will be open through September 12, 2023, with a national webinar on June 12 from 1-2:30 p.m. - EDT.

OMB Sets Consultation Date for Mandatory Funding Proposal for IHS

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) set June 2, 2023 to conduct tribal consultation on President Biden's proposed mandatory funding oroposal for the Indian Health Service (IHS): OMB, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The proposed mandatory funding proposal was part of the president's budget and would begin in FY 2025 if approved by Congress. The change in funding approach would involve use of a mandatory funding formula, and the incremental growth of the IHS budget to approximately $44 billion by FY 2033.

The virtual consultation will take place on June 2 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. - EDT. OMB has prepared a trio of discussion points for Tribal leader feedback that are set forth in the attached Dear Tribal Leader Letter. Tribal leaders are encouraged to register early for the consultation using this link:  Written comments may also be submitted as part of the consultation through June 30 via email at [email protected].



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