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Did Fed Approval Make Props 94-97 Vote Irrelevant?

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January 28, 2008

Californians have often vetoed laws passed in Sacramento, but this time the outcome may not be so clear.

Propositions 94 through 97 ask voters to approve or disapprove new gaming expansion compacts made between Sacramento and four Southern California Indian tribes. The compacts were negotiated by Governor Schwarzenegger and approved by the legislature last year to allow the Morongo, Sycuan, Pechanga and Agua Caliente tribes to add 17,000 slot machines to the 8,000 they now operate.

Federal law requires all Indian gaming compacts approved by states must get final approval from the U.S. Department of Interior and "shall take effect" when notice of approval has been published in the Federal Register.

The four Indian gaming compacts were approved by the Interior Department and notice was published in the Federal Register on December 19th.

Does this make the election results irrelevant if voters reject any of these propositions? No one is sure.

Since California laws do not take effect if subject to a referendum, did the federal approval come before the compacts actually exist?

With uncertainty about the legal impact of the federal action, neither side wants to take a chance of losing on February 5th.

Ultimately the gaming expansion will not be decided by the voters but rather by the courts.

Return to California Casinos.

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