State Capitol News
9:31 am
Tue January 25, 2011

State House Votes to Throw Roadblock in Path of Tribe Trying to Build Casino Near Glendale

Phoenix, AZ – Congress voted in 1986 to let the Tohono O'odham tribe buy land
in unincorporated areas away from its main reservation as
compensation for propery flooded by a federal dam. The tribe
obtained 135 acres on the edge of Glendale in 2003 near the new
Cardinals stadium and now wants some of that made part of the
reservation, a precursor to allowing a casino. This measure
permits Glendale to annex that land to block reservation status.
Sen. Scott Bundgaard said the move is fair because the tribe's
plan runs afoul of a 2002 initiative which was sold as limiting
gaming to existing reservations.

(The Tohono O'odham was part of the 17 tribes who agreed to this
compact. The voters ratified it. The governor signed the
compacts. That's what we're arguing is existing law. They're
trying to go around that and put another casino into a
metropolitan area.)

But Rep. Eddie Farnsworth said letting Glendale annexed the land
without landowner OK is both unfair and unprecedented.

(Nobody else gets treated that way. Not a single person in this
state has been treated under that kind of provision. And it only
applies to them. So from beginning to end, I think that this is
unconstitutional, I think it's a taking of land. I think that it
is bad policy.)

If approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, the tribe
is likely to challenge the law in court. For Arizona Public Radio
this is Howard Fischer.