Herrera Beutler bill to repeal 184-year-old law banning tribal distilleries passes committee

‘Antiquated’ legislation is preventing the Chehalis Tribe and others from pursuing economic development and creating jobs, congresswoman says

A bill put forth by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to repeal a law created 184 years ago that bans distilleries on tribal land reached an important milestone Monday as it passed out of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee with unanimous support.

Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, testifies at an earlier hearing for her bill to repeal an 1834 law banning distilleries on tribal land. Photo provided by the office of Jaime Herrera Beutler
Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, testifies at an earlier hearing for her bill to repeal an 1834 law banning distilleries on tribal land. Photo provided by the office of Jaime Herrera Beutler

The bipartisan legislation was sparked by a situation in the northern end of the 3rd Congressional District where the Chehalis Tribe is seeking to build a distillery, brewery and restaurant that would provide 100 new jobs, according to Herrera Beutler’s office.

Federal authorities advised the tribe to relocate the project off of reservation land or seek a legislative solution to the law, which Herrera Beutler has repeatedly called antiquated and in need of repeal.

“Indian tribes deserve the same economic opportunities as non-tribal citizens,” said Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, on Tuesday. “I’m pleased my bipartisan bill was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee this morning, paving the way for the Chehalis Tribe in Southwest Washington and other tribes all over the country to be able to build and operate distilleries on their own lands.”

You can read more about the legislation here: https://herrerabeutler.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=399128

Here’s video of a previous hearing where Herrera Beutler spoke in favor of repealing the 19th century prohibition of distilleries on tribal land:

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