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NPT Capitol: (Second to) last chance for the Tiguas today

chav-and-paizState Rep. Norma Chavez clarified for NPT over the weekend that there is still a chance for Tigua gambling in the session- but time is running out and the odds are slim.

According to Chavez, Paiz’s criminal history was at the heart of the reason why the Tigua-only legislation has failed to make it out of House committees. [link] Using the logic of Paiz criminal history being to blame, two options remain for the Tiguas.

Option 1:On Monday, gaming interests will meet with House Licensing Chair Ed Kuepel R-Seguin, to try and hammer out language for an omnibus gaming bill. While the Tigua-only bills are dead in the water, Chavez is still hopeful that language authorizing the re-opening of Speaking Rock casino could make it into this omnibus bill.

But according to Chavez, this would be conditional on Paiz walking. If Paiz was gone before an omnibus bill is reported out of committee, the Tiguas could be included in the party, Chavez said.


The Tiguas are useful to the bigger gambling interests (Racinos and Casinos) because the tribe represents the human face of the industry, which can be used in any debate in the legislature or public sphere. But Paiz, due to his background, jeopardizes that usefulness, instead making the Tiguas a liability to the big gambling interests. [link] Therefore if Paiz remains Tigua Gov., they would not be included in an omnibus bill.

With Racino and Casino interests remaining hostile to each other, bill language deliberations could drag on, giving the Tiguas a little extra time. But what if a bill leaves committee before Paiz? Cue Option 2:

Option 2: If Paiz stepped down or was voted out after an omnibus bill left committee but before a bill hit the House floor, then Chavez could try to amend any omnibus gaming bill on the House floor.

Chavez confirmed to NPT that both options were possible and that she remained hopeful. However, she also stressed that decisions regarding Paiz were strictly tribal matters and that she believed it was not her place interfere with their decision making processes.

D.O.A. anyway?

It is also worth noting that, because of the level of hostility between Racino and Casino interests, and because the votes for any omnibus gambling legislation might not be there this session, the Tiguas may lose nothing by keeping Paiz (for now). After all, why sacrifice your governor to get your language included in a dead bill?

Any constitutional amendment proposal will require 100 House votes and 21 Senate votes (2/3rds of each chamber) to be placed on the ballot in November. It is by no means certain that those numbers are there. Chairman Kuempel told NPT last week it was “pure speculation” to predict whether or not the numbers were there right now.

Besides, even if Paiz did step down, there is no certainty the big boys will let the Tiguas play…


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I support the Tiguas as a people but I don’t believe that Speaking Rock is their only future. They have used and been used by the ‘system.’

    Ken G

    April 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm

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