In North Dakota, controversial legislation that would have asked voters to amend the state’s constitution in order to open a maximum of six state-owned casinos is reportedly dead after suffering a second set-back in committee.
According to a report from The Bismarck Tribune newspaper, House Concurrent Resolution 3033 was proposed by Al Carlson from the North Dakota House Of Representatives on February 21 and would have seen voters in the northern state balloted on whether to open the six first-of-their-kind non-aboriginal casinos.
The current constitution of North Dakota reportedly prevents legislators from authorizing “any game of chance, lottery or gift enterprise” but it does allow charitable gaming while also permitting the state of only 758,000 people to join multi-jurisdiction lotteries. But, superior federal laws sanction the running of casinos on tribal lands and there are currently over a dozen such venues in the Midwestern state including the Sky Dancer Casino And Resort in Rolette County from the Turtle Mountain Band Of Chippewa Indians and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Prairie Knights Casino And Resort near the small town of Fort Yates.
Carlson’s proposal reportedly had met with harsh criticism from many who felt that it was little more than pay-back for the millions of dollars Bismarck had been forced to shell out in order to police protests connected with the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project while North Dakota State Senator Richard Marcellais even referred to the suggested legislation as “racist” against tribal peoples.
After initially receiving a “do not pass” recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee by a 13-2 vote on March 15, House Concurrent Resolution 3033 was reportedly tagged by the same body with an identical sanction on Monday following an 11-4 ballot despite the inclusion of a number of amendments including one that would have doubled the minimum distance from the six planned casinos to any tribal reservation to 40 miles.
The Republican leader of the North Dakota State Senate, Rich Wardner, told The Bismarck Tribune that he was unsure whether his chamber would have supported Carlson’s measure even if it had made it out of out of committee and been passed by a majority of members in the North Dakota House Of Representatives.
“It’s pretty quiet,” Wardner told the newspaper. “Nobody’s really talking about it.”