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California senate passes casino land bill

13 May 2008

SACRAMENTO, California -- As reported by the Sacramento Bee: "In a sign that lawmakers aren't pleased with the recent Highway 99 casino deal, the state Senate on Monday passed a bill that would prohibit the governor from negotiating gambling compacts with Indian tribes until they have qualified gaming land.

"Senate Bill 1695 by Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, passed on a 31-4 vote with bipartisan support. The vote was the latest rebuke of Gov. Schwarzenegger's deal with the Mono Indians of North Fork Rancheria, which has also drawn criticism from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

"The tribe still needs federal approval to put a casino on land along Highway 99 just north of Madera. That didn't stop the governor from announcing a compact two weeks ago that would allow for 2,500 slot machines at the targeted site -- which is about 35 miles from the tribe's traditional homeland.

"Because the deal already is signed, the Florez bill would not affect the casino. But state lawmakers still must approve the compact, and Monday's vote suggests the tribe might face an uphill fight..."

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