3/28/2006

From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Urgent     Cantwell Key Vote To Stop Casino Grandfather clau

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
Alliance Against Reservation Shopping
PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA  98604
(360) 687-3087 -- Fax: (360) 687-2973
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003 
mike@hardimanconsulting.com -- 202-489-4893


Deadline Now -- Cantwell Key Vote To Stop Casino Grandfather Clause 

Vote Wednesday morning, March 29th.  

You must rise up and overwhelm Senator Cantwellís office.  Her phone must not stop ringing today and Wednesday.  Call (202) 224-3441.


*****The Senate Indian Affairs Committee mark-up starts at 9:30 AM Eastern Time.
That is 6:30 AM in Washington.  You can start calling at 5:00 AM Washington State Time and call through 9:30 AM Washington State Time.

If you get this message Tuesday or Wednesday Morning call immediately at (202) 224-3441 or send a fax to (202) 228-0514.


*****You must get up and call Senator Cantwell and tell her to vote NO on any substitute or bill with a Tribal casino grandfather clause.

There are protections for your community in S 2078.  Cantwellís vote will decide whither a Tribe can drop a casino in the middle of any community in Washington State.  You will have virtually no say in the future of your community if the grandfather clause is included in S 2078.   

Donít allow speculators to destroy your community.  Stop reservation shopping in your area.  


This will be a history-making vote.  If you can call Senator Cantwell to oppose any grandfather clause, you will likely defeat the grandfather clause in the Senate.  There is no grandfather clause in the House bill.

This is your chance to really make a difference.  


*****Action Items:

-----1.  Call or fax Senator Maria Cantwell right now at (202) 224-3441 or send a fax to (202) 228-0514.  Tell her no grandfather clause.   The grandfather clause must be dropped out of S 2078.

-----2.  Call your friends, neighbors, co-workers and others to get them to call.

-----3.  Please forward this message as widely as you can quickly. Time is of the essence.  

-----4.  You can watch this important mark-up on your computer by tuning in at 9:30 AM Eastern Time or 6:30 AM Pacific Time at:  http://indian.senate.gov/ Youíll find the business meeting listed on the home page.  Click on Live Broadcast.   RealOne Player software is available at the website.   Call (202) 224-2251 for help.  



Senator Maria Cantwell will have the key vote Wednesday morning in Washington when the Senate Indian Affairs Committee votes on allowing 
a virtually unlimited grandfather clause on new Tribal casinos in any community.

The grandfather clause is part the original bill and a new Chairmanís substitute that would extend until June 1st of this year an offer to any tribe to write a letter to the Secretary of Interior asking her to consider their future application.   Once they do that, their right to a future casino is locked in.



Background 

Most of the Abramoff lobbying scandal that has consumed Congress the past few months is about Tribal gaming.  A lot of it is about Tribes engaging in reservation shopping.  

Reservation shopping  is where a tribe crosses state lines or goes away from their traditional aboriginal lands and away from any reservation in order to get their casino closer to an Interstate highway near a population center.  

How big is the problem?  Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA) held a hearing a week ago in the House Resources Committee which documented that there are not just a few new casinos in the pipeline but hundreds at various stages of the process.

That means that your community could end up with one or more giant tribal casinos that do not pay taxes, obey state or local laws, and often damage local communities with the ills of gambling like high crime, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and gambling addiction.   These casinos take money but donít give much to the community.  Except in the political process where local politicians are so afraid of them that few local decisions are made without the tribes consent. 

The key here is choice.  If a community does not want a casino, it should have the ability to stop it.  But that is not how the law is written now.  Tribal casinos can be plunked down pretty much anywhere they want regardless of local custom and culture.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 was supposed to control this process and stop the massive expansion of casinos and keep them on traditional reservations.  

But the bill allowed exceptions.  And those exceptions have erupted into a massive expansion of new casinos around the country with the prospect of hundreds more damaging our communities.

They say those that fail to remember history are bound to repeat it.  The new McCain Bill, S 2078, intended to update the 1988 IGRA law and close the loopholes, will actually grandfather many of these new proposed casinos into the process so they can go forward regardless of how the local community feels about them.

Most new casinos now in the process are driven by speculators like Donald Trump.  These wealthy investors, many from foreign countries, make deals with the local Indian Tribe to provide them with seed money, lawyers, lobbyists and financing to get them through the process.  Of course they often take most of the casino money.

McCain and other members of Congress want to play fair with Tribes who are already in the process.  But what about the local communities?  Most of these tribes wonít lose because the money already expended comes form speculators.  These speculators have no vested rights.  They took risks.  They are used to losing.  They are called speculators because they take big risks, and big losses and often win huge profits.  But local communities should not suffer at their hands.

Congress needs to get a grip on these loopholes and stop the exceptions and grandfather clause.   

The McCain Bill fails to adequately define reservation shopping and does little   about two huge exceptions, the Initial Reservation and Restored Lands exceptions.   It grandfathers in many casinos now in the process.  When Congress leaves the door open with grandfather clauses and exceptions, the tribes and their lawyers will find a way to drive in.

Senator McCain plans to mark up his bill, S 2078, in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee next Wednesday, March 29th.  The Committee needs to delay this process until they fix their bill and close the exceptions, special deals, grandfather clause and loopholes.

As long as Congress continues to provide for grandfather clauses, loopholes, exceptions, and special deals, speculators will continue to pour money into funding tribes for new casinos, endangering your community. And the bill has not even been voted on by Congress yet.  

Wait until others Senator start adding their loopholes.  Loopholes lead to more loopholes.  There will never be an end.   There must be no grandfather clause and no loopholes.   It has to stop.  Stop the speculators now.  


Please forward this message widely.

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