Advertise:   712.224.5420

Sen. Johnson concerned about IGRA amendments

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), a leading member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said he supports some amendments to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act but expressed concerns about the bill's effect on tribes.

The committee passed a substitute to S.2078 at a business meeting on Wednesday. Johnson said tribes weren't given enough time to review the version that Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the committee chairman, brought up for discussion.

"With all due respect to Senator McCain's efforts, the bill was substantially revised twice in the last two days before the hearing and accordingly tribes did not have an adequate opportunity to consult on the final provisions before they were voted on in the committee," Johnson said yesterday.

Johnson said was disappointed that an amendment offered by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to "fix" the Seminole U.S> Supreme Court decision was defeated. He said the proposal -- rejected by a 6-6 vote, with McCain voting in opposition -- "would have done a great deal to address the tribal concerns and help restore the original intent of IGRA by giving tribes an option when states are unwilling to negotiate gaming compacts."

Johnson, who voted for the amendment, said he is responsive to tribal criticism of the measure. Tribes in South Dakota and the Great Plains have voiced "strong opposition" to provisions that would impose more oversight and regulation on tribal casinos and restrict the ability to acquire new lands. Off-reservation gaming has generally not been an issue in South Dakota but at least one tribe has faced stiff opposition from the state to acquire ancestral lands.

Johnson, who also sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, scheduled a conference call with Native media outlets on Thursday but had to postpone due to pending business on Capitol Hill. His office provided his response to the IGRA amendments after a query by Indianz.Com.

McCain IGRA Bill:
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Amendments of 2005 (S.2078)

Relevant Links:
Sen. Tim Johnson - ttp://
National Indian Gaming Commission -
National Indian Gaming Association -

Related Stories:
Tribal gaming industry due for some changes (3/30)
McCain's Indian gaming bill faces key vote (3/29)
BIA sets meetings for Section 20 regulations (3/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedule (3/27)
Tribal leaders oppose McCain on overhaul of IGRA (3/23)
Off-reservation casino sites still in question (3/16)
Listening Lounge: Hearing on off-reservation gaming (3/15)
Gaming hearing highlights rift between tribes, McCain (3/10)
BIA sets timetable for new gaming regulations (03/01)
McCain criticized for focus on lobbying, gaming (2/14)
Panel debates tribes and election campaign act (02/09)
Senate panel presses BIA on gaming regulations (02/02)
Senate panel delves into gaming again for 2006 (01/25)
IGRA amendments tough on many, especially tribes (12/12)
McCain proposes major amendments to IGRA (11/30)
Reform, gaming on agenda for members of Congress (1/20)
Opinion: Abramoff investigation hasn't gone far enough (12/07)
Senate committee takes up slate of Indian bills (10/27)
Senate Indian Affairs sets business meeting (10/20)
McCain cites 'obligation' to non-Indian patrons of casinos (09/27)
NIGC asks Congress for authority over Class III gaming (09/22)
Senate Indian Affairs oversight hearing on gaming (09/21)
Upcoming Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings (09/12)
NIGC takes narrow reading of Class III court decision (09/01)
NIGC launches review of tribal casino land status (7/28)
Senate panel approves 14 bills at business meeting (06/30)
Indian Affairs Committee approves Lytton Band bill (6/29)
Listening Lounge: Senate Indian Gaming Hearing (06/28)
McCain seeks to close 'revolving door' in Washington (06/28)
Lobbying Report: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (06/27)
Editorial: Mississippi Hiding (06/23)
Committee report on horizon in tribal lobbying scandal (06/23)
Update on Senate hearing on lobbying scandal (06/22)
Gaming leads to new concerns about lobbyists (05/26)
Perception and realities in land-into-trust debate (05/19)
BIA official confirms tribes skipping IGRA process (05/19)
Senate hearing to tackle land-into-trust process (05/10)
Lobbying scandal prompts new look at tribal rules (05/09)
Senate panel supports NIGC on Class II rules (04/29)
Land-into-trust for gaming under more scrutiny (04/28)
Update: Senate hearing on Indian gaming (04/27)
Senate hearing set on off-reservation gaming (03/22)
McCain takes on controversial topics in 109th Congress (03/07)