What exactly is in Representative Trent Franks’ bill, H.R. 1410? In the world of Congress it is short and sweet. Here is a link to the text of the bill: http://www.keepingthepromiseaz.com/.

H.R. 1410 specifically cites the 2002 voter approved state Gaming Compact which expires in 2027.The bill states that there was a promise to Arizona voters that there would be no new casinos in the state, especially within the Phoenix metropolitan area, other than those specifically granted within the Compact. It requires that there be no new casinos in Maricopa and Pima Counties. This stipulation covers the period from April 9, 2013 to January 1, 2027. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

This bill enjoys bipartisan support not only among the Arizona delegation but in Congress as well. It has passed the House of Representatives and has moved to the Senate. Its fate is unknown. It will be voted up or down or ignored in this session. If no action occurs it dies and will have to be reintroduced in the next session of Congress. If the midterm elections prove to be wildly successful for the Republicans there is a good chance for its successful passage.

The Tohono O’odham (TO) and their supporters are positively hyperventilating over this bill. If passed the TO simply cannot build in Glendale – certainly not until 2027 when the Gaming Compact is up for renewal by voters.

What many fail to realize is that the proposed casino is not in the hands of Glendale. We all await a decision from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court followed by a final clarifying decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Then there is the Supreme Court decision on the case of Michigan vs. Bay City on the issue of Tribal sovereign immunity. Don’t for a second believe that these decisions won’t be appealed – for they will. We are still years away from a final outcome.

Why all the posturing by the TO and their supporters right now? Could it be because the Gila River Indian Community and their sister tribes have ramped up their profile of late by advertising on TV and underwriting a letter of support by Mayor Weiers? They must be chagrinned to see the Gila River Indian Community award a grant to Glendale that is 10 times larger than the $40,000+ they awarded a month ago.

The drama will continue with both sides posturing and vying for the hearts and minds of Glendale residents. Yet the ultimate decision rests elsewhere.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

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