San Francisco – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that the Indian Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), has agreed to hold a hearing April 5 on her legislation concerning the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians.
The bill would require the Lytton Band to undergo the same regulatory oversight process for gaming as any other tribe that acquired land after October 17, 1988 – the date the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted.
The following is a statement from Senator Feinstein on the hearing and an announcement by the Lytton Band that it would shelve plans for a Las Vegas-style casino on property in San Pablo:
“I am pleased that the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians has announced that they are shelving plans to open a massive urban casino in the Bay Area. I think they saw the writing on the wall and backed down. It is the right thing to do. It is clear to me that when Californians voted to approve Propositions 5 and 1A to allow Indian gaming on Indian lands, it was not to support off-reservation casinos and ‘reservation shopping.’
I also want to commend members of the California Legislature, and particularly the efforts of Assembly Member Loni Hancock, for their refusal to support a compact that would have been a bad deal for everyone.
However, the Lytton Band has not abandoned pursuing a compact that would sidestep the normal federal regulatory process – and their letter to the Governor holds out hope for approval either by the current State Legislature or a future Legislature.
I remain strong in my belief that they should have to pursue the regular process for gaming on newly acquired lands like all other tribes. That is why I am pleased that Senator John McCain, chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee has agreed to hold a hearing on the bill on April 5.”
“ I have serious concerns about the expansion of Nevada-style gaming – with its slot machines and in-house banking – into urban areas,” Senator Feinstein said. “This legislation is designed to prevent the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians from short-circuiting the process laid out in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for gaming on newly acquired lands.”
Last year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger entered into a compact with the Lytton Tribe that authorized 5,000 slot machines in a 6-8 story casino in the city of San Pablo. The proposed facility would have been the largest casino outside of Connecticut, including those in Las Vegas. Alarmed by the size of the proposed project, the Legislature refused to take up and approve the compact, even after the Governor scaled back the proposal to include only 2,500 slot machines.
Senator Feinstein’s bill would strike a provision in the 2000 Indian Omnibus Advancement Act – inserted by Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.) – which allows the Lytton Tribe to sidestep gaming requirements in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The provision required the Secretary of Interior to backdate the acquisition of a card club property in San Pablo to October 17, 1988.
If the legislation is approved, the Lytton tribe would be required to go through a two-part determination process that requires both the Secretary of Interior and a State’s Governor to sign off on plans to build a gaming facility. This process also provides for consultation with local communities and nearby tribes prior to its completion.
Please make sure and continue to share your thoughts and comments with me and my staff. We will be sure to let Congress know how you feel.