Tester’s bill to spur economic development in Indian Country signed into law

BILLINGS, Mont. – A bipartisan initiative by Montana Senator Jon Tester to cut red tape and spur economic development in Montana’s American Indian communities became law on Monday, July 30.

The Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act empowers Montana’s tribes and tribal members to make their own housing decisions, strengthens sovereignty and promotes economic growth.

Tester spent the last two years advocating for the law which expedites home development on reservations. Current practice requires all mortgages to be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior–a process that can take several years.

For many Americans this process takes weeks, not years.

“This new law an important step toward improving opportunities in Indian Country while cutting red tape, and it will lead to stronger Indian communities,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Supporting and passing this law is about putting Montana’s agenda first, and I’m proud to have pushed Congress to get it passed and signed into law.”

Tester’s law also cuts red tape for wind and solar energy developments on reservations.

The Hearth Act passed the U.S. Senate with unanimous support in July.