Senate Bill to Renew Seminole Compact Dies, Tribe Urges Good Faith Negotiations

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing dealings by the Florida Governor and Legislature to come to a new agreement with the Seminole Nation regarding exclusive gambling games in the state. With the July 31st deadline quickly approaching, the Legislature seemed as good a place to push for a resolution. However, with the recent early shutdown of the legislative session, the bill looking to do just that died. As the Sun Sentinel online explainsThe Seminole Nation calls for good faith negotiations: 

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is accusing the state of ignoring federal law by not negotiating a new gambling agreement. Tribal Council Chairman James E. Billie sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Friday requesting that the state obey the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was created in 1988 to regulate gambling on Indian lands.

“We trust the state will fully comply with its obligation under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to commence good faith negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida,” Billie wrote.

On Tuesday, Crisafulli shut down the House three days early, citing irreconcilable differences with the Senate over Medicare funding. All unpassed bills apparently died with it, including Bradley’s proposal, which had been laden with amendments while in the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries.

Additionally, the Tribe has official set in motion a 180 day negotiation period that prompts action by the State or risk the issue go to court. The Sun Sentinel continues:

The tribe’s letter also points out that by their formally renewing the request for negotiations, a 180-day period begins before the U.S. district courts assume jurisdiction of the agreement, according to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

That means the U.S. district courts could take over negotiations with the state on Oct. 28. The blackjack portion of the compact expires July 31, but the tribe has a 90-day grace period, which runs out Oct. 29.

Its possible that the Florida Legislature will reexamine the issue as special session is likely to finalize the budget and these revenues are a part of the overall budget.

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