Governor Jay Inslee has in the last few weeks signed four bills that promote the welfare and well-being of Indians throughout Washington State. The Snoqualmie Tribal Council, on behalf of all our Tribal Members, sent a letter on April 22nd, 2014 to thank Governor Inslee for his efforts. We appreciate his signing the new bills into law, each addressing matters of great importance to all of us in Indian Country.

Here is a brief description of each new bill:

HB 2724 – “New public records exemptions for traditional cultural places and archaeological resources” – signed into law March 31, 2014, this bill ensures that information pertaining to the location of sites containing Tribal burial grounds and Native American artifacts will be unavailable through public records so that these sites will be better protected.

HB 2080 – “Vacating convictions for certain tribal fishing activities” – signed into law April 2, 2014, this bill clears the criminal convictions of Native American individuals arrested in the 1960’s for asserting their treaty rights to fish for salmon at off-reservation locations.

SB 6078 – “Related to recognizing Native American Heritage Day” – signed into law April 2, 2014, this bill acknowledges the First People of Washington State through the creation of the annual Washington State Native American Heritage Day on the fourth Friday of November.

EHB 1287 – “Subjecting federally recognized Indian tribes to the same conditions as state and local governments for property owned exclusively by the tribe” – signed into law April 3, 2014, this bill gives Tribal property used for economic development the same property tax exemption that the Washington State constitution allows for properties owned by federal, state, and local governments.

In the letter, Tribal Council Chairwoman Carolyn Lubenau, representing the members of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, said “These recent bills affirm and uphold Native Americans’ parity, sovereignty, dignity, and right to justice in Washington State. The Snoqualmie Tribal Council, on behalf of the more than 650 members of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, sincerely thanks you, Governor Inslee, for your understanding of, and support for, the critical tribal issues underlying these bills.”

We are pleased with Governor Inslee’s actions and look forward to the benefits each brings to our community and to all Indian tribes in our state.