Move follows Gov. Schwarzenegger’s deal with the Mono Indians that drew the ire of several lawmakers.
The California Senate in
May passed legislation that would prohibit the governor from negotiating gaming
compacts with Native American tribes that did not have federally recognized
land in place on which to put a casino facility.
comes after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deal with the Mono Indians of North
Fork Rancheria for a $250 million casino near Highway 99 just north of Madera
drew ire of several lawmakers. The land in question is some 35 miles from the
tribe’s traditional homeland, and placing a casino there would essentially
first off-reservation gaming facility.
Feinstein, D-Calif., has been one of the most vocal critics of Gov.
Schwarzenegger’s deal with the Mono Indians, calling the signing of state
compacts before land is federally approved for tribes’ use a move that
“manipulates the process.”
Feinstein was one of several
state lawmakers that have supported Senate Bill 1695, authored by state Sen.
Dean Florez, D-Shafter. The bill passed by a 31-4 vote. “If a majority of the
people in California want Indian gambling, at least it should be on Indian
land,” Florez told the Associated Press.
Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, agreed, adding that the Mono Indians’ North Fork
compact would encourage other tribes to engage in “reservation shopping” to
attempt to get more profitable casinos.
“A lot of us are
concerned about reservation shopping,” he said. “This (deal) would not only
make it possible, it would sanction it.”
in signing the deal, noted its positive environmental impacts. The compact
calls for the North Fork Rancheria to share a small fraction of casino revenues
with the 600-member Wiyot tribe on California's
North Coast. The Wiyot tribe has agreed to
forgo its right to game on tribal lands along the environmentally sensitive
Humboldt Bay near Eureka in exchange for $5 million in annual payments that
would come from the Mono Indians’ gaming revenue.
Florez’s bill does not mean an instant rejection for
the Mono Indians’ casino hopes, but it could be an indication of how lawmakers,
who would need to approve the compact, might vote. However, some supporters of
the Florez bill said they would consider the North Fork Rancheria plans if it
also has federal support.
the federal government would approve the [casino], then there's a basis for a
compact," state Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, told the Sacramento Bee.
1695, too, might face an uphill challenge. It would still have to pass the
California Assembly, as well as survive a potential veto from
Calif. bill would prohibit off-reservation casino compact
July 1, 2008