Casino Stalker | Legislation
Rep. Frank foresees 'zero chance' for passing land-into-trust fix

As the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts moves forward with its casino plans, one hurdle remains: the land-into-trust process.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is moving forward with the tribe's land-into-trust application. But if it's ever approved, casino opponents intend to sue under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The ruling restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. The Mashpees didn't gain federal recognition until May 2007.

The tribe has to "demonstrate a tie all the way through that would allow it to be under federal jurisdiction," Steve Light, a co-director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law & Policy at the University of North Dakota, told The New Bedford Standard-Times. "That process of proof can take a heck of a long time, ordinarily."

Bills have been introduced in Congress to fix the decision by ensuring that all tribes, regardless of the date of federal recognition, can follow the land-into-trust process. But one lawmaker doesn't think there's a chance it will pass any time soon.

"I think there is zero chance of any congressional action," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) told the Standard-Times. "I don't know why people thought it was moving. There's no committee moving on it that I know of."

The House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs held a hearing on H.R.1234 and  H.R.1291, two versions of the Carcieri fix, nearly a year ago.

Get the Story:
SouthCoast seeks deadline for federal action on tribal casino (The New Bedford Standard-Times 7/2)
Governor: "Too soon" to talk funding South Coast Rail with casino revenue (The New Bedford Standard-Times 7/2)
Tribe's link to Taunton essential to casino deal (The Cape Cod Times 7/1)

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Commission to discuss Mashpee Wampanoag casino concerns (6/27)