PHOENIX, July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) President, Diane Enos praised the action of Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake for sponsoring federal legislation entitled the Keep the Promise Act of 2014. The legislation will prohibit any Indian casinos on newly acquired tribal trust lands in the Phoenix metropolitan area until the expiration of the existing tribal-state gaming compacts in 2027. Importantly, the legislation preserves the agreement made between Indian tribes and the voters who agreed to limit the number of tribal casinos in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This Act is companion legislation to a similar bill passed by a supermajority in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the session.
Upon introduction, SRPMIC President, Diane Enos stated, "On behalf of a broad coalition of tribal and local municipal leaders, I want to thank Senator McCain and Senator Flake for their leadership in introducing the Keep the Promise Act of 2014. This important legislation will reaffirm the tribal state gaming policy that was approved by the voters in Arizona in 2002. A key element of the policy was that Indian tribes promised there would be no additional casinos allowed in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This will stop additional county islands inside cities from becoming new casino reservations. We are hopeful through their support this legislation will move quickly through the U.S. Senate and become law."
In a recent congressional hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, several witnesses testified about their concern of an "off-reservation" tribal casino being proposed in the City of Glendale, Arizona and urged Senators to weigh-in. Poignantly, U.S. Representative Paul Gosar stated in testimony, "TO's promise to build no additional casinos in Phoenix is not something that Congress can ignore…No entity, government or otherwise, should be rewarded for deceptive conduct that violates a compact and is contrary to the will of the voters."
In addition, City of Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers remarked, "Our sister cities know that unless Congress acts, they may be next. There are over 200 other county islands in the Phoenix metropolitan area. And the Tohono O'odham Nation attorneys have said the Tribe has the right to close its existing three casinos and open them on these county islands. We are a test case, but it is the start of a very slippery slope. If Congress does not act, the entire Phoenix area should be prepared for more off-reservation casinos."
The Keep the Promise Act of 2014 is the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1410 which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a super majority in September 2013.
SOURCE Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community