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Indian Nations Law Update - February 2013

February 07, 2013

Godfrey & Kahn to Present Seminar on Health Care Reform February 27
Godfrey & Kahn, in cooperation with health insurance broker Burkwald & Associates, will present a seminar on health care reform. Wisconsin's deputy insurance commissioner will also be speaking at the event. The seminar will focus on the impact of health care reform on employers. The program is especially targeted at CEOs, CFOs, and HR/benefits staff.

The seminar will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. February 27 at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. For more information, contact Jessica Gordon at or 414.287.9311.

Godfrey & Kahn's 24th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminars in April
Godfrey & Kahn's Labor & Employment Law Practice Group will present its Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminars in April at three locations throughout the state of Wisconsin. The seminar will include an update on recent changes in federal and state employment law, a discussion of best practices, and practical approaches to managing employment law problems. All conferences run from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Locations and dates are:

  • Thursday, April 11 - Madison (Monona Terrace)
  • Wednesday, April 17 - Green Bay (Lambeau Field Atrium)
  • Wednesday, April 24 - Milwaukee (InterContinental Hotel)

The seminar, which is offered free of charge, is designed to serve the needs of executives, in-house counsel, human resource professionals and front-line supervisors. Godfrey & Kahn has applied for 3 recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). We have applied for approval by the Board of Bar Examiners for 3 hours of Wisconsin mandatory CLE credits.

To register or for more information or questions, please contact Jessica Gordon, at 414.287.9311 or

Interior Department Issues Guidance on HEARTH Act Implementation
In 2012, the President signed into law HR. 205, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act of 2012 (HEARTH Act or Act). (See our August 2012 Update). The HEARTH Act amends the Long Term Leasing Act by permitting tribes to adopt leasing ordinances that, once approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), eliminate thereafter the need for BIA approval of leases. For tribes choosing to take advantage of the Act, it will doubtless significantly improve leasing for business development, housing and other purposes while, at the same time, strengthening tribal sovereignty.

On January 16, BIA issued guidance for tribes seeking approval of leasing ordinances pursuant to the HEARTH Act. The guidance affirms that BIA will interpret Congress' requirement that tribal ordinances be "consistent with" federal regulations in a manner that is respectful of tribes' right to make their own policy choices. The guidance also prescribes the issues that tribal ordinances should address and describes the approval process.

The HEARTH Act offers the greatest improvements in Indian country leasing since the Long Term Leasing Act was enacted in 1955.

Godfrey & Kahn has extensive experience in drafting tribal leasing and related ordinances. For assistance in taking advantages of the HEARTH Act, or for more information, contact Brian Pierson at or 414.287.9456.

HUD Announces Availability of Indian Community Development Block Grants
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published the FY 2013 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program. The ICDBG Program is a set-aside portion of the larger Community Development Block Grant Program. Single-purpose grants may be used for a broad range of housing, infrastructure and economic development purposes targeted primarily for the benefit of low and moderate income persons, including:

  • housing rehabilitation,
  • land acquisition to support new housing construction,
  • roads, water, sewer and other utilities,
  • public facilities, including community buildings, homeless shelters, clinics, nursing homes, battered spouse shelters, halfway houses for run-away children, drug offenders or parolees; and group homes for mentally retarded persons,
  • energy efficiency improvements,
  • commercial, industrial and agricultural projects,
  • economic development, including credit, technical assistance and general support to micro business enterprises,
  • homeownership assistance, including subsidizing interest rates and mortgage principal amounts, financing the acquisition of housing by current occupants, down payment assistance and closing costs.

ICDBG applications must be received by March 18, 2012. Godfrey & Kahn has assisted tribes in preparing applications for ICDBG funds. For more information, contact Brian Pierson at 414.287.9456 or

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