From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Pombo Holds Reservation Shopping Hearing Wednesday, April 5th

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

Pombo Holds Reservation Shopping Hearing Wednesday, April 5th

Urgent Action Required – Go Online to listen to Resources Committee Reservation Shopping Hearing.

*****Date:  Wednesday, April 5th.

*****Time:  11:00 AM Eastern Time – 8:00 AM Western Time.

-----Resources Committee holds hearing on reservation shopping Wed., April 5th.

-----Listen to the Resources Committee Hearing on the Internet.  Instructions below.

-----Pombo introduces HR 4893 to curb reservation shopping.

-----Lytton Band of Pomo Indians reservation shopping highlighted below.

*****Action Items and Resources Committee press release below.

Note—There is some overlap with an e-mail sent March 13th. 

What is reservation shopping?

Reservation shopping is when a tribe looks to locate a new casino as close to a populated area as possible.  To do this, they must create a new reservation that cannot be stopped by local communities.  

Here is an example of reservation shopping:

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians in California tries to sneak in the back door.

In March 2000, California voters approved a constitutional amendment granting Indian tribes a statewide monopoly on slot machines and banked card games (like blackjack).  The Indians proponents had spent $30 million on top of $70 million spent two years earlier on a statutory amendment, and, in response to public concerns, had promised that Indian casinos would be limited to Indian lands on mostly remote, rural locations.

But the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians was not satisfied.  They wanted to put a casino in an urban area.

In October 2000, in violation of the earlier promises to the voters, Congressman George Miller snuck a three sentence amendment into a 150 page Omnibus Indian bill, directing the Secretary of Interior to take a 9 acre parcel of land in the middle of the heavily urbanized San Francisco Bay Area in trust for the Lytton Indians and to backdate the acquisition to 1988 so that it would be exempt from provisions in IGRA.  IGRA supposedly limits casinos on new Indian lands if they would be detrimental to the surrounding community.  At the time, the land consisted of a 70,000 square foot card room and a 700 space parking lot.

The Lytton Indians were from 65 miles away on lands in rural farmlands.  Back in the 1920s, the government had bought a piece of land at a spot called Lytton (an English name, not Indian), and in 1937, the government allowed two Indian families to live on the land and have small farms.  The government gave the families the land in 1960.  The two families had never organized as a tribe, and before 1991 had never been treated as a tribe. 

In 1999, the Lytton had indicated to Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that they wanted to have the land taken into trust, and the BIA had indicated that the application would be denied.  The Miller amendment, which had never before been proposed or even discussed, was inserted in the bill at 9:25 at night, just five minutes before the bill was passed, without the knowledge of the public or other elected officials and without any public debate.  

This stealth legislation was inserted into the Technical Corrections section, even though it was not a technical correction, and it did not identify the land except by reference to a recorded deed.  The bill was passed before anyone knew what had been done.  In January 2001, when Dianne Feinstein first learned what had happened, she immediately indicated her opposition.

In January 2005, Senator Feinstein introduced S 113 to reverse the backdating provision in the amendment and require any Indian gaming to be reviewed to ensure that it is not detrimental to the surrounding community.  The bill was heard by the Senate Indians Affairs Committee in April 2005, and passed out of committee in June 2005.  Now, it awaits action by the full Senate.

You should call both your Senators to urge them to pass S 113. 

We’ll give you more about the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians in the future.

Here is an additional contact address for information about the Lytton Band.
Conor Lee -- info@stopurbancasinos.org

Reservation shopping is becoming a huge new land grab in America.

It is by Indian Tribes who want to build new gambling casinos in or near urban areas.   

Why should you care if you have no casino proposed near you at the present time?

Answer:  Because it is coming.  Over 200 new off-reservation casinos are in the pipeline.   There are potentially over 200 additional tribes that could get into the process or have already started by their application but it has not yet reached the Washington, DC office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  That is at least 400 more potential new casinos and possibly more.  There are huge numbers of large-scale investors recruiting tribes and paying for all their expenses to get recognized and approved for gaming.  

What does off-reservation mean?

It means that tribes find private land as close to freeways and communities as possible and buy that land.  Then they go to the Interior Department to get them to take the land into trust.   In other words, an Indian Reservation.   Then they get it approved for gaming.  So they go off their traditional reservation generally out in rural areas and instead put a casino in your neighborhood, often near schools, churches and businesses.  In one case in Washington, the proposed casino is larger than every casino in Las Vegas except the MGM Grand.

If you fight for the people facing a new casino in their area now, they will be there to fight for you when a tribal casino threatens to damage your quality of life.  It is a team game.  A simple call by you can make so much difference.  American Land Rights allies have been very successful because they have fought together for the common good on numerous issues. 

Think about whether you want a giant mega-casino placed in your neighborhood without your approval and against the wishes of your community.  That’s what is happening all across America.  

Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) has introduced a new bill in Congress provide local communities with more say as tribes try to engage in reservation shopping.  

His bill, HR 4893, is available at www.landrights.org. 

It would allow the legislature to vote and allow for the local community to vote on the issue of new off-reservation casinos in their communities.  It also would provide for other hoops for the tribes and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to go through.  At present BIA has no regulations governing its conduct in this process. 

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, offered up legislation that passed the Senate last week to amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.   It DOES NOT allow communities more say in the process.  Unfortunately, the McCain bill includes a grandfather clause that needs to be blocked in the House.   It would grandfather tribes now in the process.  It actually encourage more tribes to apply because it gives until April 15th for them to get a letter in.  

You need to call your Congressman today.  

Tell them:

-----HR 4893 must not have a grandfather clause added by amendment.  A grandfather clause would allow tribes now in the process of trying to establish off-reservation casinos to go forward if HR 4893 passes Congress.   A grandfather clause would damage many areas that have been fighting tribes dropping new casinos in their communities.  

-----HR 4893 should include a three year moratorium on funding for the Interior Department to carry out any part of the private land to trust land process.  This would prevent tribes from moving forward during a moratorium and then just jump into casino status when the moratorium is lifted.  There must be no funding for three years.  

With a moratorium, no proposals could move forward.  All would be locked in place while Congress has time to consider legislation and come out with new law.  

It would also give time for the Administration to write new regulations.  New regulations will take over a year even if they are started today.  It is likely that some bureaucrats in the Interior Department will try to use the fact that they are working on new regulations to head off the Pombo and McCain bills. 

Believe it or not, the Bureau of Indian Affairs presently has no regulations regarding the process of converting private land (fee land) into Indian land (trust land or reservation land).

*****Action Items:

-----1.  Call, fax or e-mail your Congressman to urge him or her to oppose any attempt to offer a grandfather clause in the Resources Committee Bill.  There is not one in the House Bill (HR 4893) now.   Ask that your Congressman oppose reservation shopping in your area and support House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) in his effort to re-write the law to protect local communities.  All Congressmen may be called at (202) 225-3121.

-----2.  The Resources Committee is holding a hearing on reservation shopping on Wednesday, April 5th.  You can find out about the hearing and even listen to it.  

Go to http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/archives/109/full/index.htm

for more information. 

-----3. Lobbying Reform will be considered in the House of Representatives starting this week.   The Senate version that passed the Senate last week includes a grassroots gag rule.  It would dramatically hurt your ability to communicate with Congress on grassroots issues and make you file all kinds of new forms.  Urge your Congressman to oppose any grassroots restrictions in the House Lobby Reform Bill.  

-----4.  Help us help you.  Get on the e-mail list of the Alliance Against Reservation Shopping.  Just your name, e-mail, fax and address, and we’ll put you on the list and keep you informed about Congressional and Administration actions.  

E-mail it to:  alra@pacifier.com and just put Reservation Shopping in the subject line.   There is no cost and you can remove yourself from the list at any time.  You have complete control.

Pombo Introduces Bill To End Off-Reservation Indian Gaming

  For Immediate Release
House Resources Committee
  March 8, 2006
  Contact: Brian Kennedy or Jennifer Zuccarelli (202) 226-9019

  Pombo Introduces Bill to End
  Off-Reservation Indian Gaming

  Washington, DC- After more than a year of Congressional hearings and public input, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) officially introduced legislation to stop the spread of off-reservation Indian gaming yesterday evening.  See below to read the bill, H.R. 4893.

  Off-reservation gaming is the practice of exploiting a loophole in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).  Some tribes attempt to acquire lands outside the borders of their reservation to establish a casino, typically close to large urban areas or tourist destinations. H.R. 4893 amends Section 20 of IGRA, to close this loophole and give local communities control over new casino proposals from newly-recognized or landless tribes. 

  "Off-reservation gaming is a nationwide concern and I knew we had many different opinions and concerns to keep in mind," said Pombo "By working openly with Indian Country and the American public over the last year, I believe I have crafted the strongest bill possible.  This will put local communities in control and encourage economic opportunities for tribes at the same time."

  Pombo held three hearings on off-reservation gaming last year, including one field hearing in California where more than 10 local officials and tribal leaders testified on the effects of off-reservation gaming.  The state ranks at the top of the nation's list with as many as 40 proposals to establish off-reservation casinos.

  The Chairman circulated for the public two discussion drafts of his bill last year. The Resources Committee will hold a hearing in the near future to review the bill.
Chairman Pombo's Off-Reservation Gaming bill will:

-----1.  Completely repeal the so-called 'two part determination' in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ("IGRA"), the part of IGRA that has authorized 'reservation shopping'.  This means that under no circumstances can a tribe that already has land into trust that is eligible for gaming acquire any more land not contiguous to the reservation and use it for gaming, without exception.  This puts a permanent end to 'reservation shopping' once and for all.

-----2.  Give local communities and state officials a seat at the table to decide whether or not a casino proposed by a new or landless tribe should open in their town or city. 

-----a.  The tribe and local community must enter into a memorandum of understanding under which the tribe must pay the community for mitigation of direct effects of the casino on infrastructure and services such as transportation, public safety, and other costs.

-----b.  The tribe must pay for an advisory referendum in the local county or parish that currently holds jurisdiction over the land on whether they would like to have a casino or not.  The result of this referendum would then be forwarded to the Department of Interior, along with the completed Environmental Impact Statement, prior to Department review and determination of whether or not the land should be taken into trust.

-----c.  The Secretary of Interior must certify that the facility would not be detrimental to the surrounding community or nearby Indian tribes.

-----d.  The Secretary must certify that the facility is in the best interest of the surrounding community.

-----e.  The Governor of the State must concur with the Secretary's findings.

-----f.  The State legislature must concur with the Secretary's findings.

-----g.  Nearby Indian tribes must concur with the Secretary's findings.

-----h.  Only after having cleared all of these hurdles will land be placed into trust for a new or landless tribe that wants a casino.

-----i.  A tribe may only propose to locate its facility on lands where the tribe has its primary historic, geographical, social and temporal nexus with the lands.

-----3.  Ban any attempts to establish off-reservation casinos outside of the tribe's current U.S. state.

-----4.  Allow for the creation of 'Indian Gaming Zones', where one tribe can host a gaming facility for another tribe on already existing reservation land where gaming is allowed.


Click here for a copy of the bill, HR 4893.


or go to www.landrights.org

Click here for information about the April 5th hearing and to listen in.   http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/archives/109/full/index.htm

Please forward this message as widely as possible.

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