On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, the Subcommittee on Indian and Insular Affairs held an oversight hearing titled “Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Public Safety in Tribal Communities.” The full video from that hearing can be found on the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Hearing Highlights and Background
Intertribal Public Safety Legislative Proposal
A number of COLT member Tribes have participated in the development and advocacy in support of the draft Intertribal Legislative Proposal Addressing Non-Indian Crime in Indian Country and believe that the solutions offered in the draft would materially improve public safety in Indian Country, especially for large land-base tribes who suffer from a dearth of law enforcement resources and attention.
During the hearing, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Ambassador to the United States Jonodev Chaudhuri introduced in his testimony the public safety legislative proposal that Chairman Weatherwax carried at the 2022 NCAI Annual Meeting. Ambassador Chaudhuri testified about the substance of the proposal extensively.
FDA Menthol Rule Discussion
COLT is concerned about FDA’s proposed rules because they will no doubt create illicit markets for menthol and nicotine-containing products, gaps that will be filled by foreign criminal interests and directly and negatively impact public safety on remote rural Indian reservations like those of COLT member tribes.
A portion of the hearing (starting around the 1:04:52 video mark) shows Rep. Jerry Carl of Alabama read from COLT’s July 2023 press release on the FDA menthol rule in questioning Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland about the lack of consultation and public safety implications of the proposed rule given the cartel presence on large land base reservations and chronic underfunding of tribal law enforcement. Chairwoman Harriet Hageman echoed his concerns after AS-IA Newland answered, citing exactly what Navajo Nation Speaker Curley discussed with her during TIBC.
Additional Articles and Resolutions Around this Hearing
- FDA Rulemaking Article: COLT Chairman Echoes Senate Alarm on Foreign Illicit Tobacco Threats Amid FDA Prohibitory Rulemakings on Menthol and Nicotine in Cigarettes
- COLT Resolution: COLT-Resolution-Calling-for-Pause-in-FDA-Rulemaking-on-Tobacco-to-Allow-for-Tribal-Consultation-and-Protection-of-Tribal-Ceremonial-Uses-and-Public-Safety
- COLT Resolution: COLT Resolution in Support of the Intertribal Legislative Proposal for Addressing Non-Indian Crime in Indian Country
- NCAI Resolution: Calling on Congress to Enact the Legislative Proposal to Improve Public Safety in Indian Country (The National Congress of American Indians Resolution #SAC-22-043)