National Indian Gaming Association hosts Annual Winter Legislative Summit

28 February 2018

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The National Indian Gaming Association kicked off the 2018 Winter Legislative Summit today at the Stanley Crooks Tribal Leaders Conference Center in Washington, D.C. The two-day legislative summit is designed for tribal leaders from around the country to come together to discuss issues central to tribal communities and governments.

National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Stevens welcomed the leadership, saying, "The Winter Legislative Summit is one of the most instrumental gatherings of tribal leadership at the National Indian Gaming Association. It allows us to have a dialogue with the leadership at the Nation's Capital, and more importantly, it is another opportunity to continue to educate this administration and Congress about the critical need of our tribal communities."

Stevens added, "With the political climate that Indian country currently faces, we must always be ready to deal with our issues head-on, and that means educating, talking, meeting and holding our ground in protecting tribal sovereignty."

Tribal leaders were focused on current topics, such as sports betting; the Department of Interior's proposed changes to the Fee to Trust process; the 2018 Farm Bill and its benefits to Indian Country; and the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Technical Standards Final Rule.

Of particular interest to tribal leaders was the Congress' failure to include Indian Country tax provisions in the recently passed Tax Act of 2018. Congressmen and women from both sides of the aisle thanked tribal leaders for their active involvement in pursuing Indian Country tax issues. While Indian Country's tax issues were not included by House and Senate leadership, NIGA's allies in Congress stated there may be tax opportunities in 2018. NIGA will continue its advocacy on specific tax issues important to Indian Country in the 2018 Congress, as Representatives stated there may be a tax technical correction bill.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community provided updates on the 2018 Farm Bill moving through Congress. There is an Indian Country Coalition pushing tribal issues in one of the most significant pieces of domestic legislation this year. Enacted by Congress approximately every five years, the Farm Bill addresses everything from nutrition programs to agricultural policies, food production, natural resource conservation, rural development and insurance programs.

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) finished the day with an update on their regulatory initiatives in Indian Country. The NIGC recognized the continuing strength of Indian Gaming's revenue growth and the resulting positive economic impacts for our reservation economies. The first day concluded with an evening reception at NIGA with tribal leaders and members of Congress and congressional staff.

The 2018 NIGA Winter Legislative summit will conclude tomorrow with another day of discussions with congressional and administrative representatives.

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