By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Land Reaffirmation Act by a voice vote.
The bill was sponsored by U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne.
This legislation would address a legal technicality that, in theory, could potentially have legally jeopardized the tribe’s reservation status.
This issue first came up in April 2013 when then state Senator Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, while representing the Escambia County Commission as an attorney, launched a legal campaign to disenfranchise the PCI of their Tribal standing before the Federal government. Taylor, argued that the 2009 Supreme Court ruling in ‘Carcieri v. Salazar’ rendered the PCI’s Land Trust null and void. Then Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange also brought up this issue in a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau, during the Obama Administration, rejected these arguments; but some think that if this were taken to federal court that the Tribe could lose their federally protected trust status. The purpose of the lawsuit was to make the Tribe pay taxes to Escambia County; but at least in theory it could have closed the county’s leading employer.