The Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Idaho recently delivered a letter to Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denney demanding that he certify into law a bill that the state’s governor had vetoed. Denney declined and told media, “I think the court is probably the appropriate place to have those questions answered.” He said further that he’s sure there will be a court battle over the issue and that he doesn’t, “… personally think that we have the authority to do that.”
In 2013 Idaho lawmakers passed a bill authorizing race tracks and simulcast venues to offer “Instant Racing Machines”. After they were installed in three venues across the state, including then financially troubled Les Bois Park, lawmakers complained that they didn’t realize what sort of gaming machines they were allowing. Idaho tribes also called the machines illegal slots and sponsored a bill to repeal the law.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe sponsored a bill to repeal the law and it passed with more than 2/3 majorities in both the House and Senate. Idaho Governor Butch Otter vetoed the bill and the Senate was unable to override the veto, filing the bill with the Secretary as “Veto Sustained”.
A procedural issue came to light concerning the timing of the governor’s veto being returned to the Senate and the legal demand by the Tribe on the Secretary of State ensued.
Denney decided to take no action after consulting with the Idaho attorney general’s office.