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House passes bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino bid

Filed Under: Casino Stalker | Litigation
More on: 113th, arizona, gila river, house, off-reservation, raul grijalva, senate, tohono oodham

Artist's rendering of the proposed West Valley Resort. Image from Tohono O'odham Nation

By a voice vote, the House on Tuesday passed H.R.1410, a bill that prevents the Tohono O'odham Nation from opening an off-reservation casino in Arizona.

The Keep the Promise Act doesn't mention the tribe by name. But it bars all forms of gaming on land placed in trust in the Phoenix area after April 9, 2013 -- a provision that applies to the proposed West Valley Resort.

Debate lasted about 40 minutes. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) opposed the bill and noted that the tribe has won a series of rulings in the state and federal courts upholding its right to pursue the casino.

But supporters of the bill claimed the tribe is violating a promise made to Arizona voters not to open an off-reservation casino. Several tribes with casinos in the Phoenix area back H.R.1410.

“This measure will hold every Tribe in Arizona accountable to the 2002 promise struck by Tribes and the voters of this state: To have gaming only on traditional tribal lands and to keep casinos out of neighborhoods and away from homes, schools and places of worship," Gov. Gregory Mendoza of the Gila River Indian Community, one of the tribes that opposes the Tohono O'odham casino, said in a press release.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where it has not received a hearing. The Obama administration opposes the bill.

“The nation will continue to fight this transparent and desperate attempt to change the rules on behalf of a few wealthy East Valley tribes,” Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said in a statement, Cronkite News reported. “We remain committed to creating jobs and opportunity in the West Valley and we trust this dangerous legislation will fail in the Senate."

Yesterday's debate can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

Get the Story:
US House bill aims to stop casino in Glendale area (AP 9/17)
House passes bill to block Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale (Cronkite News 9/17)
Full U.S. House OKs measure which would block Tohono O’odham from gaming on land near Glendale (Capitol Media Services 9/18)
House passes bill to halt West Valley casino (The Arizona Republic 9/18)
House Votes to Block Arizona Indian Casino Obama Approves (Bloomberg News 9/18)

Related Stories:
Tohono O'odham Nation racks up court victories in casino fight (9/17)

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