Legislature passes bills that clarify tribal language and regulate loan eligibility
The state legislature has passed two bills that clarify tribal language and in-state loan eligibility.
The first house invoice clarifies that tribal entities and individuals are eligible for certain state loans and grants. Governor Mark Gordon signed the bill into law earlier this week. State Representative Andi Lebeau said that before this bill, tribes were not allowed to receive loans and grants from the Wyoming Business Council.
“That bill basically said, ‘No, they’re residents of the state of Wyoming. If they meet the criteria, they can apply for a loan or a grant. It just clarified that,” she said.
Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill said in an advisory last fall that tribal entities should be barred from applying for funding unless they enter into a project agreement with the state to improve the success rates of supported projects. .
The other invoice passed this week in the Wyoming legislature corrects misspellings of Arapaho and Shoshone in government documents, as well as updates references to disbanded governing bodies of the Wind River Reservation.
LeBeau said the bill will make it easier for state entities to contact tribes.
“People didn’t know what to do, especially the mixed tribes, and then the state didn’t know how to approach the tribes, because there was no longer this Mixed Council,” she said.
This bill also clarifies that indigenous languages like Arapaho and Shoshone are classified as “world languages” and not “foreign languages” in state documents.