Arizona Gov. Signs Bill, Undermines Tohono O’odham Nation’s Casino Plans
The Tohono O’odham Nation’s plans to build a Las Vegas-style casino-hotel in the heart of the Phoenix metro area just hit a roadblock, reported the Associated Press.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill intended to prevent the Southern Arizona tribe’s proposed casino from rising. She signed the bill February 1, the day prior to her deadline to act on it—the bill was approved by the Legislature last week.
The governor briefly explained the law “assures that local officials will continue to have a say in local development matters that affect their community,'' noted YumaSun.com. Brewer said that promotes “transparent discussion because the public interest is best served when communities work together.''
The bill goes into effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends, allowing the city of Glendale to annex the 54-acre site—non-reservation land that the Tohono O’odham Nation purchased with rights from a 1986 federal law, according to YumaSun.com.
The tribe bought the land with federal money received for the purpose of purchasing land to replace nearly 10,000 acres flooded by a federal dam project, reported YumaSun.com.
The same law allows the tribe to petition to have the new lands included in its reservation, if the land does not fall within any city limits. This law was designed to derail the transfer of land to reservation status, reported YumaSun.com.
The Nation’s request for the federal government to add the purchased land to its reservation is pending in federal court, according to the AP.