Ho-Chunk Nation: President Wilfrid Cleveland, and Delegation
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin: Louis Taylor, Chairman, and Delegation
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians: Vice-President Dee Mayo, and Delegation
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin: Laurie Boivin, Chairwoman, and Delegation
Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin: Richard Hill, Chairman, and Delegation
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians: Rose Soulier, Chairwoman, and Delegation
Sokaogon Chippewa Community: Garland McGeshick, Vice Chairman, and Delegation
Stockbridge-Munsee Community: President Kimberly Vele, and Delegation
This is the sixth occasion that we as tribes come before you to present this State of the Tribes Address. It grew out of recognition on both sides that that there are common interests between the State and the Tribes.
As legislators and government leaders, we are all given the task of representing our constituents and creating policy and programs that serve our communities.
As tribes, we come to Madison at this time each year, and we look forward to meeting you both in this presentation and individually, leader to leader, to review progress and plan for the future.
Tribes have come a long way in the past 20 years. Between our government operations and our enterprises, many of the tribes are the largest employer in their counties.
Our governments and enterprise payrolls contribute millions to the local economies and employ more than 10 thousand citizens.
The tribes collect and remit millions in taxes and contribute more millions to local schools and charitable organizations. We also contribute our time and services and help to enhance fire protection, rescue, and ambulance services.
We realize that services cannot just stop at the reservation boundaries. One of the reasons that we are here today is that we, as leaders, have to continue to find new ways of cooperating and planning for better livers for all of our people.
With the Speaker's permission, I'd like the written version of today's presentation entered into the record. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Those of you who know me, also know that I prefer to get right down to the heart of things. If you were to ask tribal staff, some of them would even say that I often stray a little from their plans.
The written transcript I've provided goes into great detail on many of the issues that are critical to the tribes. What I'd like to do is highlight some of those issues that I believe you should hear about directly.
Since last year, things have not gotten better with our economies, not on the reservations, not in the state, or nationally.
Because of our remote locations, I believe that the tribes are being hit extra hard economically. Whatever we can do to create new jobs, attract investments, and bring more federal funds to Wisconsin is fine by me. We have too many unemployed. Health care access and costs continue to rise
I don't have to remind you of what you are hearing every day. By working together, I believe that we can begin to solve some of these problems.
Some of the work that we have been doing together has solved problems. Earlier this year, the Governor signed into law the Indian Child Welfare Act. If you know our history, you know that this was not only a long time coming, but the most significant piece of legislation in support of Indian families in many generations in Wisconsin. To Senator Jauch and all of the many people who worked on this project, you have our sincerest thanks. This bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly. That was good to see.
We also view the passage and enactment of the Great Lakes Water Compact legislation as a great step forward. Now we are hoping that there will be some attention to the issue of sovereignty and the issue of inter-tribal tax immunity and tax agreements between the Tribes and State.
Law-enforcement is another issue where work needs to be done. Currently, there is some confusion about how specifically tribal law enforcement may work with their state counterparts. The issue is called mutual aid.
A new bill, AB 737, deals directly with this issue, and I urge you to consider it a priority for this session. It, too, deserves your unanimous support.
I also think you should consider the issue of retirement parity for tribal officers. Currently, our brightest and best law enforcement officers migrate to non-tribal departments because of the benefits packages. If tribal officers could participate in the state program, it would be a big step in stabilizing tribal police forces.
School funding parity is another issue that deserves a look.
When Governor Doyle signed Executive Order 39, it was designed to improve the consultation process with the tribes. Legislation affecting the tribes was routed through the Legislative Council's Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations. This was a big step forward.
One of the things that I would like to do today is to ask the State to re-commit to the important work of this committee. After a fast start, progress at the State-Tribal Relations Committee has bogged down.
We urge that there be more consultation with the Legislature, not less, with the tribes in the areas of clean energy, renewable energy policy and standards, mining, and community health.
Re-energizing the State-Tribal Relations Committee will enhance legislative planning.
State Board of Regents needs tribal representation.
I'd also like to briefly mention three important initiatives.
The prisoner re-entry project is designed to help young people successfully reenter the workforce. The Wisconsin program is unique and could become a model for the country. The tribes recognize how important this program could be for all of Wisconsin.
Broadband access is an initiative that is especially important to the tribes. Currently, access to the internet on the reservations is limited and costly. We are eager to participate in any way that will help us move forward into the information age.
Lastly, the Highway 8 improvement initiative is of great interest to the tribes. We look forward to participating in an economic success similar to that of the Highways 29 and 41 projects. We especially look forward to working with the State in the areas of archaeological sites, historical findings, and environmental impacts.
A sincere, open and continuing government-to-government consultation process will ensure the best possible conclusions.
Finally, I'd like to mention two upcoming events. Milwaukee will be the host to the 2011 National Congress of American Indians. I cordially invite you to attend and interact with your counterparts from states and tribes across the country.
Milwaukee will also be the host for the 2011 Indigenous Games. This Olympic-style event is a summer celebration of health, fitness, and healthy lifestyle choices for Indian from all over North America. We invite you to not only attend, but to support this important event in any way possible.
The state of the Tribes is strong. We, like you, are facing many and growing challenges. We appreciate being here, and this opportunity to participate in these government-to-government talks.
Miigwetch. Thank you."
The Color Guard retired the colors.
Representative Nelson moved that the joint convention arise.
The question was: Shall the joint convention arise?
Representative Barca asked unanimous consent for a leave of absence for today's session for Representative A. Williams. Granted.
Representative Kleefisch asked unanimous consent for a leave of absence for today's session for Representative Suder. Granted.
Representative Barca asked unanimous consent for a leave of absence for part of today's session for Representative Sinicki. Granted.
Representative Kleefisch asked unanimous consent for a leave of absence for part of today's session for Representatives Gunderson and Vukmir. Granted.
Assembly amendment 2 to Assembly Bill 527 offered by Representative Roys.
Assembly amendment 1 to Assembly Bill 624 offered by Representative Hixson.
Assembly amendment 1 to Assembly Bill 679 offered by Representative Pasch.
Assembly amendment 1 to Assembly Bill 703 offered by Representative Hixson.
Assembly amendment 1 to Assembly Bill 715 offered by Representative Clark.
Assembly amendment 2 to Assembly Bill 715 offered by Representative Clark.
Assembly amendment 1 to Senate Bill 218 offered by Representative Roys.
Read first time and referred:
Assembly Joint Resolution 110
Relating to: the life and public service of Robert D. Haase.
Representatives Kessler, Nygren and Huebsch; cosponsored by Senator Risser
To committee on Rules.
Assembly Bill 766
Relating to: designating and marking a portion of STH 50 in Kenosha County as the LeRoy and Lynn Copen Memorial Highway.
Representatives Steinbrink, Barca and Kerkman; cosponsored by Senator Wirch
To committee on Transportation.
Relating to: changes to the membership of the Small Business Regulatory Review Board, notification to the Small Business Regulatory Review Board of bills with an economic impact on small businesses, and the role of the Office of the Small Business Advocate in the Department of Commerce.
Representatives Barca, Dexter, Strachota, Bernard Schaber, Clark, Zigmunt, Garthwaite, Hilgenberg, Shilling, Jorgensen, Steinbrink, Kerkman, Smith, Sinicki, Hubler, Berceau and Turner; cosponsored by Senators Plale, Wirch, Darling, Vinehout, Lassa and Taylor.
To committee on Jobs, the Economy and Small Business.
Assembly Bill 768
Relating to: authorizing the Department of Commerce to designate two additional enterprise zones.
Representatives Garthwaite, Dexter, Berceau, Clark, Hilgenberg, Hixson, Pasch, Soletski, Molepske Jr., Turner and Zigmunt; cosponsored by Senators Kreitlow, Coggs, Robson, Schultz and Taylor.
To committee on Jobs, the Economy and Small Business.
Assembly Bill 769
Relating to: evidentiary recordings of persons under the age of 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct and attempt of certain sex crimes against children and providing penalties.
Representatives Staskunas, Berceau, Brooks and Suder; cosponsored by Senators Lassa and Sullivan.
To committee on Criminal Justice
The committee on Jobs, the Economy and Small Business reports and recommends: