Californians are not potted plants in Indian casino negotiations
• Rep. Doug LaMalfa seeks to make clear Californians have say over casinos
• Tribes have right to operate casinos, but that right comes with some strings
• Workers, like voters, shouldn’t lose their rights when it comes to Indian-owned casinos
Indian tribes and their partners should understand that one sure way to run afoul of the voters is to ignore their voice.
California-based Indian tribes have every right to operate casinos on reservations, so long as the governor, the Legislature and, on occasion, the electorate can have their say.
Based on two recent federal court decisions, however, California’s authority is in doubt. Judges essentially have told the state to acquiesce to tribes and their commercial partners. That’s hardly what voters had in mind in 2000 when they granted tribes monopoly rights to operate slot machines in casinos on their land.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, has introduced legislation that would make clear that California decision makers are not potted plants. LaMalfa’s HR 5079 is a California-specific bill that seeks to prohibit the U.S. interior secretary from authorizing casinos over objections of California officials and voters.