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Eye On Boise

Chairman: Anti-tribal gaming bill won’t get a hearing this year

Gambling opponents launched a new attack on tribal casinos in Idaho on Monday on moral grounds, introducing legislation calling for a state-funded legal challenge, declaring tribal gaming machines unconstitutional and requiring lawmakers to approve any gaming compact changes.  “The purpose of this is to again establish legislative control over the gambling in the state of Idaho,” former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robert Bakes, a gambling opponent, told the Senate State Affairs Committee.

He and political activist Mike Duff introduced the bill on behalf of “United Families Idaho,” a group that was active in favor of a successful 2006 anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendment in Idaho, an effort largely funded by eastern Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot. Duff said his group would like to see the Legislature consider and pass the bill as quickly as possible. But committee Chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said the bill will go no further; it won’t get a hearing this year. “It’s very far-reaching,” McKenzie said. “I don’t know if it’s the Legislature’s prerogative necessarily to say what the state Constitution means. I think the courts would interpret that.”

Duff said, “We’re about 2,700 families across the state who are intent on defending the family as the fundamental unit of society.” You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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