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Arizona ‘game’ to strike back

Apr 23, 2002 4:59 AM

As soon as Gov. Jane Hull’s Indian gaming bill in Arizona was killed, a revival movement began.

In a surprise decision, Hull’s bill was defeated by one vote last week. Senate President Randall Gnant cast the deciding vote in the Rules Committee, then felt an immediate backlash from his decision.

"I’ve been called everything, but a White man," Gnant said in an Arizona Republic story.

Hull’s bill was designed to raise million of dollars for the state by extending casino-style gaming to Arizona racetracks.

State Sen. Herb Guenther, who sponsored Hull’s bill, gathered enough signatures to allow the full Senate to decide whether to revive the measure.

"It demonstrates a part-time morality," Guenther said. "We violated one of our own internal policies. When that happens, I lose faith."

The Governor said that the vote sent the wrong message to the tribes, which she indicated followed the legislative process only to be undermined by "procedural shenanigans."

Last February, Hull announced the outlines of a new agreement with the state’s 17 gaming tribes providing for continued casino-style gaming on reservations and provide for expansion in the urban Indian casinos.

Hull blamed the racetracks for the bill’s defeat. She also indicated that it was necessary to get a gaming deal passed by the Legislature.

"Otherwise, the Nov. 5 ballot will be full of competing gaming measures that may not strike the best deal possible for the state," Hull indicated.