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Maine Indian land act revision to receive a public hearing
Written by Aimee Dolloff
from Bangor Daily News
AUGUSTA - The Senate and the House have forwarded a bill to the Judiciary Committee that would change the original Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980.
The next step is for a public hearing to be held, according to John Dieffenbacher-Krall, executive director of the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission.
LD 2221, An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Tribal-State Work Group, recommends the following:
. Revises the headnote of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 30 to reflect the inclusion of laws that apply to American Indian tribes in Maine.
. Provides for jurisdictional parity among Maine's four American Indian tribes, including the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Indian Nation, based on the powers, privileges and immunities outlined in an act to Implement the Maine Indian Claims Settlement enacted in 1980.
. Expands the membership of the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission to include two representatives of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs and two representatives of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, as well as four additional representatives of the state. It also expands the duties of the commission to include a continual review of the effectiveness of the act and authorizes the commission to submit legislation directly to the Legislature.
. Requires that before the state or any political subdivision seeks a court or administrative action involving interpretation of the act that the dispute must first be presented to the commission for mediation.
. Requires every state agency to provide for a timely and meaningful consultation with each American Indian tribe, nation or band before proposing, adopting or implementing legislation or administrative measures that may materially affect the American Indian tribe, nation or band.
It also states that the laws governing freedom of access do not apply to any of the tribes and that nothing in the bill will take effect without approval from each tribe's own government within 90 days after the adjournment of the current Legislature.
A public hearing is expected to occur in March, but a specific date hasn't been set, Dieffenbacher-Krall said.

Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission (MITSC)
13 Commissary Point Road, Trescott Township, ME 04652
Office: 207-733-2222
Paul Thibeault, Managing Director: 207-271-7762

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