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SENATE

715T CONGRESS

2d Session

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REPORT No. 818

AMENDING ACT PERMITTING TAXATION OF LANDS OF HOMESTEAD AND DESERT-LAND ENTRYMEN UNDER THE RECLAMATION ACT

May 29 (calendar day, JUNE 4), 1930.—Ordered to be printed

Mr. Walsh of Montana, from the Committee on Public Lands and

Surveys, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany S. 4318]

That the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, to whom was referred the bill (S. 4318) to amend the act entitled "An act to permit taxation of lands of homestead and desert-land entrymen under the reclamation Act," approved April 21, 1928, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that the bill do pass with the following amendments:

On page 3, line 2, beginning with the word "under" strike out all down to and including the word "amended” before the period in line 3, and insert in lieu thereof the following: "of such entryman on ceded Indian lands or of an assignee under the provisions of the act of June 23, 1910, as amended, or of any such entries in a Federal reclamation project constructed under said act of June 17, 1902, as supplemented or amended”.

On page 3, line 4, beginning with the word “If”, strike out all down to and including the word "lien", before the period in line 12, and insert in lieu thereof the following:

If the lands of any such entryman shall at any time revert to the United States for any reason whatever, all such liens or tax titles resulting from assessments levied after the date of this amendatory act upon such lands in favor of the State or political subdivision thereof wherein the lands are located, shall be and shall be held to have been, thereupon extinguished; and the levying of any such assessment by such State or political subdivision shall be deemed to be an agreement on its part, in the event of such reversion, to execute and record a formal release of such lien or tax title.

The above amendments were recommended by the Secretary of the Interior in his favorable letter of May 24, 1930.

The purpose of the bill is to extend the operation of the act of April 21, 1928, so as to include ceded lands within an Indian reservation irrigation project as well as those within a project prosecuted

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under the act of 1902, generally known as the reclamation act. The injustice of allowing such lands to escape the payment of taxes necessary to the support of schools, the construction and maintenance of public roads, and to meet the other expenses of local government is too obvious to require argument. The bill is fully justified by the conditions which induced Congress to enact the law it seeks to amend.

The Secretary of the Interior has indicated that he has no objection to the bill in its amended form, as set forth in his letter of May 24, 1930, which also sets forth facts concerning the proposed legislation, as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, May 24, 1930. Hon. GERALD P. NYE, Chairman Committee on Public Lands and Surveys,

United States Senate. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: With further reference to your request of May 14 for a report on S. 4318, which would amend the act permitting taxation of lands of homestead and desert-land entrymen under the reclamation act, there is transmitted herewith a memorandum from the Commissioner of Reclamation, to which attention is invited. After a review of the proposed measure, I have no objection to offer to its passage if amended as recommended by Commissioner Mead. Very truly yours,

Ray LYMAN WILBUR, Secretary.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BUREAU OP RECLAMATION,

Washington, May 22, 1930. Memorandum for the Secretary.

There has been received by reference from the department letter dated_ May 14, 1930, from Hon. Gerald P. Nye, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, inclosing a copy of S. 4318 for your report thereon.

The bill proposes to amend the act of April 21, 1928 (45 Stat. 439), so as to make it applicable to ceded lands of entrymen under Indian irrigation projects, as well as to lands under the act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388). A new section is also added providing for the termination of the State tax liens if the lands of any such entryman should at any time revert to the United States.

The new section is doubtful, both from the standpoint of legality and policy. Of legality, because the courts may not uphold the attaching by Congress of conditions to its consent to the taxation of Government land; and of policy, because tax titles, always weak, will be rendered of still less value by such a condition, operating, if valid, with a potentiality of upsetting titles over an indefinite period. From the standpoint of the United States, however, these objections are not material.

It is believed that the last sentence of section 3 should be amended so as to read as follows: “The holder of such tax deed or tax title resulting from such tax shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges in the land of an assignee of such entryman on ceded Indian lands or of an assignee under the provisions of the act of June 23, 1910, as amended, or of any such entries in a Federal reclamation project constructed under said act of June 17, 1902, as supplemented or amended.” The act of June 23, 1910, is not applicable to entries on ceded Indian lands, hence the foregoing change.

The theory of section 4 of the bill is that the State officials by levying assessments upon Government land under the permission given by the bill, impliedly consent to the condition attached by Congress as stated in section 4. Such an implication can arise only as to State tax levies made after the date of the approval of the amendatory act, and tax levies made between April 21, 1928, the date of the original act, and the date of the approval of the amendatory act, would not be subject to such an implication. To make this clear, and to make the defeasance condition applicable to tax titles as well as to tax liens, it is suggested that section 4 be amended so as to read as follows:

"Sec. 4. If the lands of any such entryman shall at any time revert to the United States for any reason whatever, all such liens or tax" titles resulting from assessments levied after the date of this amendatory act upon such lands in favor of the State or political subdivision thereof wherein the lands are located, shall be and shall be held to have been, thereupon extinguished; and the levying of any such assessment by such State or political subdivision shall be deemed to be an agreement on its part, in the event of such reversion, to execute and record a formal release of such or tax title."

With the changes above set out, this bureau has no objections to the enactment of the bill.

ELWOOD MEAD, Commissioner. O

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May 29 (calendar day JUNE 5), 1930.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. STEIWER, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the

following

REPORT

(To accompany S. 2134)

The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the bill S. 2134, having carefully considered the same, reports favorably thereon and recommends that the bill do pass with the following amendments:

Amend the title of the bill by striking out the same as written therein and insert in lieu thereof the following:

A bill to provide for the investigation of certain claims against the Choctaw Indians enrolled as Mississippi Choctaws.

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu thereof the following:

That the Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed

(a) To investigate the claims of the intervening petitioners (or the personal representatives or assignees of any such intervening petitioners) in the case of Winton v. Amos brought in the Court of Claims (51 Court of Claims 284; 52 Court of Claims 90) under the acts of Congress of April 26, 1906 (34 Stat. 140), and of May 29, 1908 (35 Stat. 457), and determined on appeal by the United States Supreme Court (1921, 255 U. S. 373), in connection with any of the following matters: (1) The presentation of the claim to enrollment and citizenship in the Choctaw Nation of any Choctaw Indian enrolled as a Mississippi Choctaw under the act entitled “An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory, and for other purposes," approved June 28, 1898, as amended and supplemented; (2) the submission of evidence for the purpose of the identification or enrollment of any such Indian as a member of the Choctaw Nation; (3) the removal of any such Indian to the Choctaw-Chickasaw country in the Indian Territory (now the State of Okahoma) and his maintenance therein to enable him to comply with the provisions of the act of Congress entitled “An act to ratify and confirm an agreement with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes of Indians, and for other purposes," approved July 1, 1902; and (4) matters incidental to the foregoing.

(b) To make a report to Congress showing whether any of such intervenors have actually rendered service of value or incurred expenses in connection with any of the matters specified in paragraph (a), and if the Secretary finds that any

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