Four Tribes Meet With Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations

January 26, 2011 –

MAYETTA:   The four tribes of Kansas met today with the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations at the Capitol to discuss a proposed tribal state gaming compact between the State and Wyandotte Nation.

The proposed compact would allow the Wyandotte Nation to have Class III gaming at its existing 7th Street Casino located in Kansas City, Kansas.  Presently the casino is authorized for Class II gaming which allows only for electronic bingo and pull-tabs. Class III gaming, as spelled out by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), would allow slots and table games.

Carol Forman, a designee from the former Governor’s office, gave an overview of the compact to the Committee.  Following her presentation, chairpersons from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri, and Kickapoo of Kansas presented testimony in opposition of the compact along with Mark Gunnison, attorney for the Iowa Tribe, and Mark Dodd, attorney for the Sac and Fox.

The compact was negotiated when former Governor Mark Parkinson was still in office in 2010 and in order for the compact to be approved, the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations must review and recommend it first before it is sent to the 2011 Kansas Legislature.   Some committee members are new to the Kansas Legislature due to the last election.

One of the major concerns voiced by tribal leaders today was that they were not consulted or made aware of the negotiations about the proposed compact before it was announced by Parkinson’s office.  Another argument was that the Wyandotte Nation is not headquartered in Kansas and does not have its casino located on a reservation which makes it different from the other Kansas tribes.   Some tribal representatives said they are also concerned with some of the terminology that is in the proposed compact and do not want to incur any regulatory costs should the compact be approved.

The Wyandotte Nation did not present testimony at today’s meeting and the Joint Committee plans to reconvene in a week to hear from that group.

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Chairman Steve Ortiz presented testimony today at the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations at the Capitol.

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These three chairpersons spoke this morning at the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations Committee meeting.  Left to right, Steve Ortiz (PBPN), Russ Bradley, Kickapoo, and Twen Barton, Sac and Fox.  Tim Rhodd, Iowa chair, could not be present for the hearing.