Arizona Tribes Commend Bipartisan Support of Native Gaming
The Keep the Promise Act protects the integrity of Indian gaming, say four Arizona tribes
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni have applauded the bipartisan action of the U.S. House National Resources Committee who on June 24 approved H.R. 1410, the Keep the Promise Act. They released the following joint statement yesterday:
By a vote of 35 to 5, the Committee acted swiftly to reaffirm the commitments made to Arizona residents who voted ‘yes’ on Proposition 202—the Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act of 2002. Importantly, the action of the Congressional committee clears the way for the legislation to be considered by the full body of the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. H.R. 1410 was introduced by Arizona Congressional Representatives Trent Franks, Ed Pastor, Ann Kirkpatrick, Paul Gosar, David Schweikert and Matt Salmon; in collaboration with Representatives Jared Huffman, John Conyers, and Dan Kildee. It is endorsed by many Arizona tribes because it assures that the terms of the current compacts are kept intact. Sixteen of the 17 Arizona tribes were united by the ‘balanced’ vision for Indian gaming in Arizona that was at the heart of Prop 202—a vision shared among their communities, state officials and elected leaders. Upon passage of H.R. 1410 tribal leaders remarked:
“The bipartisan support of a key Congressional Committee demonstrates their commitment to stand by elected officials from around the state of Arizona to reaffirm the gaming policy that was established by the voters in 2002,” said Diane Enos, president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, “and we look forward to swift passage by the House of Representatives.”
“The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has always fought for opportunity and fairness; and in 2002 we stood by 16 other tribes throughout the state to establish a comprehensive Indian gaming policy that, today, has benefitted all Arizonans,” said Vice-President Bernadine Burnette. “Our Nation appreciates the leadership of the Arizona congressional delegation and the foresight of the House Natural Resource Committee in approving H.R. 1410.”
“This bill protects the credibility of Arizona tribes who will have to negotiate and obtain voter approval for the future of tribal gaming in just a decade, and prevents tribes from voiding their commitments and promises made to limit gaming in the metropolitan areas,” stated Gila River Indian Community Governor Gregory Mendoza. “The bipartisan support for this bill is a testament to the principle that promises should not be broken.”
H.R. 1410 can be summarized in three short points: in 2002 voters in Arizona approved Prop 202; as part of gaining approval Indian tribes agreed to limit the number of casinos within the State and in particular within the Phoenix metropolitan area; the Act preserves the agreement made between the tribes and the Arizona voters.
H.R. 1410 will allow the voter-approved provisions of Proposition 202 to remain intact, including:
1) Indian casinos would be kept out of neighborhoods;
2) Each tribe agreed to a specific casino allocation; some even gave up rights to additional casinos in order to limit the number within the state; and
3) As stated by then Governor Jane Dee Hull in the Prop 202 voter education pamphlet issued by the Arizona Secretary of State, “Voting “yes” on Proposition 202 ensures that no new casinos will be built in the Phoenix metropolitan area and only one in the Tucson area for at least 23 years.”
Hear congressional testimony on H.R. 1410 and read more historical information about Prop 202 at www.keepingthepromiseaz.com.