Texas state reps to legalize gambling on tribal regions

James White and Sefronia Thompson, two Texas state reps, cooperated with the Alabama-Coushatta and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo tribes in order to suggest a constitutional amendment that refers to the legalization of gambling on tribal regions.

White and Thompson wrote the House Joint Resolution 129 in order to revoke legal issues regarding the tribal gaming topic.

However, casinos are still illegal in Texas except for one that belongs to the Kickapoo tribe, opened after the Bureau of Indian Affairs accepted the request. In 2001, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe managed to open a casino but shortly after it was banned by a federal court that considered it performed illegal activities and had negative influence and on citizens.

The main goal of the House Joint Resolution 129 is to create optimal conditions for state tribes in order to ensure normal and legal approvals to gamble in the state of Texas. Also, the issue of sovereign nations is aimed. Professor Shannon Speed, anthropologist at the University of Texas, claimed for the Daily Texan: “If you are pursuing your civil rights as a minority, you are pursuing your rights as a citizen of a nation, but most native tribes are actually looking for their rights as sovereign nations apart from the U.S.”(…) So if tribes are unable to participate in gaming based on an act from a foreign government, it really encroaches on the tribes’ sovereignty.”

Representative Sefronia Thompson is convinced that the House Joint Resolution 129 has a very effective legal base and that it will allow citizens to establish the legal rights of other tribes as sovereign communities.