The past few years have seen historic achievements for Indian Country. Jon has used his Chairmanship of the Indian Affairs Committee to give a strong voice to the needs of Montana’s tribes, and has successfully led the effort to build stronger and healthier Indian communities.
Jon supported and helped pass the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which had expired in 2000. The law modernizes delivery of health services in Indian Country and improves access to quality care for all American Indian communities.
Jon was instrumental in getting the historic Cobell v. Salazar class-action lawsuit settlement passed into law. The measure settles a decades-old lawsuit over mismanagement of Indian trust lands. His work monitoring the rollout and implementation of the settlement is ongoing.
Jon introduced legislation settling the water rights of the Crow Tribe in a measure which became law in 2010. Jon has used his seat on the Appropriations Committee to win needed investments for critical Montana water infrastructure in northeastern Montana.
Jon also supports energy tax credits to give Indian Country developers a chance to compete in the global economy.
Because stopping violent crime is a particular challenge on Indian reservations, Jon introduced the Tribal Law and Order Act, which became law in 2010. This law is already working to boost law enforcement on Indian reservations.
Jon also voted for the Violence Against Women Act giving prosecutors more tools to crack down on domestic violence and sexual assault on tribal land.
Additionally, Jon continues to fight for federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe. The first bill Jon introduced in the Senate would have granted the Little Shell the long-overdue respect they earned, and Jon believes the federal government must join with the state of Montana to recognize the tribe.
Since Jon’s best ideas come straight from Montanans, Jon has toured all of Montana’s tribes and held hearings on the state’s reservations to tackle tough issues such as transportation, unemployment, and youth suicide.
Jon has also introduced legislation to reaffirm the Department of Interior’s authority to take land into trust for tribes – measure that is critical for the sovereignty and self-determination of all Indian Country.