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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 6, 2016.
Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2016
This bill increases the maximum term of imprisonment from 5 years to 10 years for individuals convicted more than once of illegal trafficking in Native American human remains or cultural items.
This bill bans the export of illegally obtained Native American cultural objects and sets penalties for violations of this ban.
A person is immune from criminal prosecution under laws regarding Native American cultural objects if the person voluntarily repatriates to the appropriate tribe all the Native American cultural objects in the person's possession not later than two years after enactment of this bill. This immunity does not apply to a person under active investigation or prosecution relating to Native American cultural objects.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) must report on the number of Native American cultural objects illegally trafficked and the extent to which the Department of Justice has prosecuted cases of trafficking. The GAO must recommend actions to eliminate such trafficking and to secure the repatriation of Native American cultural objects.
The Department of the Interior must facilitate the convention of a working group to contribute information to the GAO report and to advise on implementation of the GAO's recommendations.