El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

NPT Capitol: Final draft of gambling HJR circulating, Tiguas in

The final (well…probably the final) draft of House Licensing Chair Ed Kuempel’s omnibus gambling bill has begun circulating the capitol. Language authorizing the Tigua Indians to re-open Speaking Rock Casino remains included.

According to one Austin source (armed with a spread sheet) the bills backers have 87 yeas, 45 nays and 34 maybes – that totals 166 house members, meaning that some House member’s names appear in two categories (i.e. maybe leaning yes, maybe leading no).

The draft tidies up a few parts of the previous draft making it narrower in scope.

Firstly the definition of “coastal barrier Islands” is narrowed to islands 25 miles in length connected to the mainland by bridges. “Dredge spoil islands” at least 18 miles in length in coastal islands are added in too. “Populous Metropolitan areas” remains the rather vaguely coded nod to Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston developing Vegas style resorts – but does El Paso count as a “populous metropolitan area”? Could other small cities one day be classed as “populous metropolitan areas”?

The section authorizing Tigua and Coushatta gambling has words that limit operations to El Paso and Polk Counties added in. This seems to be to prevent other Indian tribes outside the state using the section to claim that they can set up shop in Texas.

Read the full resolution after the jump.

–Ben Wright

proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to legalize and regulate the conduct of gaming in this state in counties that by local option election approve the conduct of that gaming and authorizing the conduct of gaming by certain Indian tribes.
SECTION 1. Section 47, Article III, Texas Constitution, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (f), (g), (h), (i), and (j) to read as follows:
(a) The Legislature shall pass laws prohibiting lotteries and gift enterprises in this State other than those authorized by Subsections (b), (d), [and] (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of this section.
(f) The Legislature may by general law authorize and regulate the conduct of one or more types of gaming involving wagering in this State and may make such a general law contingent on approval by the voters at a statewide referendum. A law enacted under this subsection may limit the locations in which certain types of gaming may be conducted to coastal barrier islands at least 25 miles in length that are accessible by bridges, to dredge spoil islands at least 18 miles in length located in coastal counties, and to populous metropolitan areas of this State, designated by the county or counties in which the island or metropolitan area is located. A law enacted under this subsection must require that, before any type of gaming not otherwise permitted by law to be conducted in a particular county may be conducted in that county, an election must be held to allow the qualified voters of the county to determine by a majority vote whether that type of gaming may be legally conducted in the county.
(g) The Legislature may provide by general law for the dedication of portions of gaming revenue authorized by this section and received by the State or a local government for higher education, transportation, or children’s health insurance program purposes.
(h) A federally recognized Indian tribe may conduct gaming on tribal land of the tribe in this State that was held in trust by the United States on January 1, 2009, and that is located in Polk County or El Paso County.
(i) If, after January 1, 2009, any person, organization, or entity is permitted by the law of this State to offer gaming involving wagering within 200 miles of any part of the reservation of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas located near Eagle Pass, Texas, the tribe is permitted, at a location selected by the tribe that is within 150 miles of any part of the reservation but not within 30 miles of any horse or greyhound racetrack licensed for pari-mutuel wagering that was in operation on September 1, 2009, to offer the same number of games or gaming devices involving wagering as any other person or entity authorized by the law of this State. The gaming authorized under this subsection shall be regulated by the tribe and the secretary of state. The secretary of state may not adopt regulations that are more restrictive than the regulations applicable to other comparable gaming licensed by the State. The tribe each month shall transfer to the State in a manner determined by the comptroller a percentage of the tribe’s gaming receipts, which may not exceed the percentage of receipts other persons authorized to operate comparable gaming or gaming devices must transfer to the State.
(j) A statewide referendum described by Subsection (f) of this section that is held on the same day as the election on the approval of the constitutional amendment to add Subsection (f) to this section is hereby validated. This subsection expires January 1, 2011.
SECTION 2. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 3, 2009. The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to legalize and regulate the conduct of gaming in this state in counties that by local option election approve the conduct of that gaming and authorizing the conduct of gaming by certain Indian tribes.”

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm

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