Editorial: Negotiate better deal with Seminole Tribe

"Gov. Charlie Crist went out on a limb last November when he negotiated a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe that he called ''historic.'' The Florida Supreme Court last week invalidated the agreement and, in the process, pointed out just how far out of line Gov. Crist was.

The governor acted beyond his authority as chief executive in negotiating a deal that gave the Seminoles a deal to operate major Class III games, such as blackjack and baccarat, that aren't allowed anywhere else in Florida, the court said -- and rightly so.

We criticized the governor when he made the deal and believe the court decision is correct. Nevertheless, we understand what Gov. Crist was trying to accomplish by making a deal. Florida had negotiated off and on with the tribe for more than 16 years without reaching an agreement. A 1988 federal law, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), allows Indian tribes to have gambling on their sovereign lands in states that permit gambling.

However, IGRA requires tribes and states to reach a deal. The Seminoles believed that Florida had negotiated in bad faith, that it never really wanted a deal -- and they have good reason to think that. To push Florida, the U.S. Department of Interior set a deadline. Gov. Crist signed a last-minute pact with the tribe, beating the deadline by a day."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Crist overreached on pact with tribe (The Miami Herald 7/7)

More Opinions:
Editorial: Court deals people in (The Fort Myers News-Press 7/8)
Editorial: Legislature holds the dice on Seminole gaming and must roll prudently (The South Florida Sun-Sentinel 7/8)