Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Idaho Supreme Court justices delved into the details of tribal jurisdiction this morning, during arguments on an appeal from Native Wholesale Supply Co., which has sold more than 100 million cigarettes to an Indian-owned business, Warpath, on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation, without complying with Idaho state laws regarding a national tobacco settlement that require payments into a fund. The company is owned by an enrolled member of the Seneca tribe in New York, where it operates on a reservation; it imports the cigarettes from a native-owned manufacturer in Canada.
NWS contends the state has no jurisdiction to regulate its sales, as they're between tribal members on reservations, and there's no evidence the cigarettes ever entered any part of Idaho outside the Coeur d'Alene Reservation - since the reservation touches the state of Washington.
“Native Wholesale Supply has never sold to any Idaho consumer,” attorney Samuel Diddle told the justices. The wholesale sales to Warpath “may not be regulated by the state because of tribal sovereignty,” he said.
Deputy Idaho Attorney General Brett DeLange told the justices, “Our Legislature has spent a lot of time adopting a very comprehensive set of statutes and rules to regulate cigarette sales in Idaho. One of them is before those cigarettes can be sold, they need to be approved for sale. The Attorney General needs to know who that manufacturer is. … Native Wholesale Supply just wants to ignore all that. They don't want to comply with the state's efforts of comprehensively regulating cigarette sales in our state.”
Retired Justice Linda Copple-Trout, who is sitting in the case, said, “I know the cigarettes say that they are to be resold on the reservation, but that certainly is not a limitation against who may ultimately end up with the product.” She noted that the state's interest in its laws regarding the tobacco settlement was to recover funds from those selling “a dangerous product” to cover the state's costs for health care services related to its use.
DeLange said, “Native Wholesale Supply has introduced into Idaho over 100 million cigarettes that are not legal to be introduced and sold and imported into our state, and did all of it at wholesale.” He compared the case to an earlier one in which a Native American seller from New York sold cigarettes via the Internet to buyers in Caldwell, Boise and elsewhere in Idaho. But Diddle said this case is different, because the sales didn't occur off the reservation.
Justice Joel Horton noted that the lower court decision, which NWS is appealing, enjoined the firm not only from selling cigarettes that don't comply with Idaho laws relating to the tobacco settlement agreement, but also from selling cigarettes without an Idaho wholesaler's permit. However, he read from Idaho's law regarding the tax stamps required under Idaho's wholesaler's permits; it doesn't apply to reservation sales. “If they haven't made any sales of cigarettes subject to tax, they can't hold a permit,” Horton said.
NWS has tangled with multiple states over regulatory and tax issues. The firm also was a target of a criminal case in Seattle regarding the sale of contraband cigarettes by members of a Washington tribe without paying that state's sales tax. The Idaho case arose from a 2008 lawsuit the state filed against NWS, seeking to stop its sales in Idaho and seize profits from sales already made.
At the close of today's arguments, Chief Justice Roger Burdick said, “The matter is now under advisement and we will render a decision.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
A convicted killer who left prison in 2008 is headed back there after a jury in southwest Idaho convicted him of assaulting a family member with a large knife.
Donald Leonard Houser, 39, was living in Plummer in 1995 when he shot his former girlfriend, Angela LeSarte, to death in front of Bobbie's Bar in Plummer.
LeSarte's father is former longtime Coeur d’Alene Tribal Chairman Bernard LeSarte. She was the mother of four children.
Houser was sentenced to 15 years in prison in February 1996 for second-degree murder and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. He began his five-year probation period on Oct. 30, 2008, and worked part-time on a ranch in Washington County and at a hardware store in Weiser, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He started working full-time as a self-employed mechanic in November 2010.
Houser was arrested on Aug. 22 for aggravated assault. He was sentenced in April to two to three years in state prison. He was sentenced today to two years in federal prison for violating his probation on the murder conviction. One year of his federal sentence will run concurrent to the state sentence, the other will run consecutive, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In a statement from the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe this afternoon, tribal Chairman Chief Allan denounced the recall attempt against Mayor Sandi Bloem and three council members: “As leaders, we do the best we can to gather community input and weigh the options. But at the end of the day, leadership must make difficult and often controversial decisions based on what is in the best interest of the greater community. As an elected official myself, I know the difficulties that come from representing a diverse constituency. Disagreement and differences in opinion are natural in politics no matter where you go and compromise on both sides is necessary. The democratic process has checks and balances already in place for unhappy constituents- they’re called elections.” More here.
Jazz singer Mildred Bailey performs at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Bailey was known as the “Mrs. Swing,” one of the great white jazz singers of the 1930s and 1940s. But when she died penniless in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1951, few knew her real roots. Now, the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe hopes to set the record straight: Bailey was was an enrolled member who spent her childhood on the reservation near DeSmet before hitting it big in Los Angeles. Jim Kershner SR story here. (April 1947 AP Photo/ The Library of Congress, William Gottlieb)
- Idaho Records/Sherry Adkins, SR
- 2 days later, Leaf arrested again/AP
- Fired ITD director wins key ruling/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
- Zags come off good season, future looks promising/Jim Meehan, SR
- New York Times: Washington state elects women/Jim Camden, Spin Control
- Edit: In 2013, some old issues will await new-look Legislature/Idaho Statesman
- Boaters concerned new CdA launch plan would cause delays/Brian Walker, Press
- Orbusmax Special: Well-known Portland opera singer found shot in car here
Mildred Rinker Bailey was known to fans as “Mrs. Swing,” whose slight, throaty voice won her acclaim as one of the great white jazz singers of the 1930s and 1940s. But the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe is now hoping to set the record straight once and for all: Bailey, who died impoverished in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1951, was an American Indian who spent her childhood on the reservation near DeSmet, Idaho. This week, the tribe introduced a resolution honoring Bailey in the Idaho Legislature, in part to convince the Jazz at Lincoln Center Hall of Fame in New York City to add her to its inductees — on grounds she helped blaze a trail for better-known singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. “Mildred was a pioneer,” said Coeur d'Alene Tribal Chairman Chief J. Allan. “She paved the way for many other female singers to follow”/AP. More here. (Photo: Mildred Bailey images Web site)
Question: I sometimes listen to my old vinyls of Billie Holiday while writing my Huckleberries print column. She's my favorite female jazz singer. Who's yours?
Before I respond to Chris Carlson’s recent column attacking the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Indian Gaming, I want to start by disclosing a few things. First, I support Indian gaming. I have seen first-hand how gaming on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation has transformed this community and delivered our people from abject poverty and a century-long dearth of opportunity. I see the pride in our people that comes from the hope and opportunity that gaming provides. That is precisely the reason Indian gaming was embraced by the United States and the state of Idaho. Second, I echo what many wonderful people in this community have already expressed; I too am tired of the hostility directed toward the tribe based on false information and inaccurate half-truths. That type of hate-inspired rhetoric should not and cannot be tolerated any longer/Chief Allan, Coeur d'Alene Tribe chairman. More here.
- Questions remain unanswered/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record
- Kroc Center is great, but …/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Report
DFO: Chief Allan of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe is at odds with Publisher Dan Hammes of the St. Maries Gazette Record and Chris Carlson, who writes for the weekly newspaper, re: state oversight of required donations of gaming proceeds to area schools. Carlson has also question the propriety of the tribe contributing designated school donations to the Coeur d'Alene Kroc Center.
Late last month readers of The Spokesman-Review and the Coeur d’Alene Press may have seen full page ads taken out by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe claiming they had kept the promise made to voters in 1992 to give back 5 percent of the annual gaming net revenues to the support of education. Yes and No. Yes, they have contributed $17 million by their account but it is misleading to say it all falls under the rubric of education. It stretches credulity to see where funds donated to the Kroc Center or to Mark Few’s Coaches vs. Cancer annual fund drive complies with initiative language that pledged the 5 percent would go to support education in surrounding school districts. Money listed for Gonzaga, for example, includes the annual payment for the tribe’s private box at McCarthy Arena/Chris Carlson, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Do you think the Coeur d'Alene Tribe has been open enough re: the amount of money it's mandated by law to give from gambling proceeds to public education?
When the Coeur d’Alene Tribe first signed a gaming compact with the state of Idaho in 1992, tribal leaders insisted on donating 5 percent of net casino gaming proceeds to education on or near their reservation – a gesture that has added up to $16.8 million in donations since 1994, including $1.5 million this year and $1.8 million last year. “The tribe originated the idea,” said David High, the now-retired deputy Idaho attorney general who for years oversaw negotiations with the state’s Indian tribes over gaming. “They didn’t have to do it.” In fact, High said, the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act forbids states from taxing or assessing any kind of fees on the proceeds of tribal gaming. “Congress intended the tribes to get the financial benefit of Indian gaming and did not want the states trying to take a piece of that,” he said. But in the case of the Coeur d’Alenes, “The tribe has agreed to it is the thing,” High said.
Later, the tribe wrote the 5 percent contribution into a tribal gaming initiative that Idaho voters strongly approved in 2002, prompting two other Idaho tribes, the Kootenai and Nez Perce, to add it to their compacts as well. The result has been millions donated to schools and educational programs; you can read my full story here from Sunday's Spokesman-Review. The Coeur d'Alenes agreed to open their books on their educational donations for this article; the largest recipient over the years has been the Plummer/Worley School District.
Idaho's fourth gaming tribe, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in eastern Idaho, doesn't have a 5 percent donation clause in its compact. The Sho-Bans signed their compact with the state in 2000, and included a clause calling for a federal court case looking into which gambling machines were legal and which weren't. But their compact also included a clause saying if any other tribe got permission to operate specific machines, they could have them too.
The court case hadn't proceeded far when the initiative passed in 2002. The state tried to get the Sho-Bans to amend their compact to comply with the 2002 initiative, which not only included the 5 percent education donations, but also imposed limits on growth in the allowed number of gaming machines. The Sho-Bans went to federal court, and the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sided with them in 2006, saying they didn't have to amend their compact. That left the Sho-Bans without either the 5 percent contribution requirement or the initiative's growth limits.
The success of the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel, which has made the North Idaho tribe the second-largest employer in North Idaho, behind only Kootenai Medical Center, has prompted some grumbling in recent years over who got how much of the education money. That prompted the tribe to stop holding formal ceremonies announcing the donations for the past two years, which then led to speculation that the tribe no longer was making them, despite a statement from the director of the state Lottery Commission, which oversees tribal gaming, that the 5 percent pledge had been been met.
The hubbub prompted a series of public records requests to the Lottery Commission; most sought a breakdown of who got how much money from the Coeur d'Alenes' 5 percent donations, but the lottery doesn't have that information. Both the tribe's compact with the state and the 2002 initiative say the donations are handed out “at the sole discretion of the tribe.”
The only information the tribes hand over to the Lottery Commission is their audited financial statement, which shows the 5 percent figure, along with other proprietary information about their gaming operations, such as, in some cases, background checks on employees and information about security procedures. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe's compact with the state notes that the information the tribe hands over to the state is exempt from public disclosure under the trade secrets clause of the Idaho Public Records Law; it also states that if a court finds otherwise, the tribe no longer has to supply the documents to the state. Compacts between the state and the other tribes contain similar trade-secrets confidentiality provisions.
Native and non-native residents of the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation are going to have to work out a local solution to their latest conflict over the right of tribal members to hunt on private property if they want to avoid a drawn-out court battle, a federal official said Tuesday evening. Speaking at a confrontational meeting at the Plummer Community Hall, Wendy Olson (pictured), U.S. attorney for Idaho, said there is no single source of law that answers the question of whether tribal hunters are trespassing on nontribal land. “I don’t get to make that decision,” Olson said in response to those in the crowd looking for an immediate resolution to a decades-old bone of contention. “Ultimately,” she said, “it will be resolved through litigation.” But the federal government’s highest law enforcement officer in Idaho advised leaders on both sides to not go down that long trail/Kevin Graman, SR. More here.
Question: Do you think it possible for Benewah County to negotiate in good faith with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe?
The Idaho State Lottery refused to provide records sought by this newspaper under a public records request. The Gazette Record requested public records related to the lottery commission’s oversight of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s compliance with state law relating to its casino. The Gazette Record hired the law office of Christensen & Doman of St. Maries to pursue the request following the newspaper’s reports last month about the tribe’s mandated contributions to local public schools. The tribe is required by law to donate “5 percent of its annual net gaming income for the support of local educational programs and schools on or near the reservation.” Area schools had not received money from the tribe since 2009. When questioned, tribal officials said donations had been made, but would not reveal which school districts received the contributions. Shortly after the story broke, the tribe gave $210,000 to the Plummer/Worley school district/St. Maries Record Gazette. More here. (Courtesy photo: Coeur d'Alene Casino)
- Editorial: Too costly not to pursue/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record
Question: If the tribe is required by law to provide a certain level of gaming profits to area schools, shouldn't the record of disbursements be public?
TRIBAL HUNTING – The Benewah County prosecutor was incorrect to say the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in North Idaho does not have the right to hunt or fish on reservation land owned by non-tribal members, tribal officials say.
“Any explanation or advice to people that tribal members can’t hunt and fish anywhere on the reservation is wrong, and potentially dangerous,” said Helo Hancock, tribe spokesman in a report by the Coeur d’Alene Press. “I think it misleads people and could lead to people getting into a conflict situation.”
Hancock said the tribe owns about 3,500 acres in the reservation, or about 25 percent of the land. He told the Coeur d’Alene Press that the rest is state, federal or privately owned.
Doug Payne, the county’s prosecutor, said a 1960 opinion by the Solicitor General of the Department of the Interior said the executive order that created the reservation didn’t reserve to tribal members the right to hunt and fish on the land.
But Hancock said that the opinion Payne referred to had been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968.
Read on for more of the story.
You read over the weekend about the old claim resurrected by Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne that the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe doesn't have hunting rights on non-Indian property on its reservation. Several commented in a thread about the story. But did you see that the tribe refused to comment to the St. Maries Gazette Record. Toward the end of the story about a meeting to discuss the matter, the Gazette reports: “The tribe’s legislative director, Helo Hancock, said the tribe would not comment because they feel they are treated unfairly by this newspaper. “We see a clear pattern involving the tribe in your newspaper,” Mr. Hancock said. “The articles are unfair, biased and frankly defaming of the tribe and until that changes we will be withholding comment.” (St. Maries Gazette Record photo: Approximately 20 people, including local property owners, Rep. Dick Harwood, Benewah County Prosecuting Attorney Doug Payne and Sheriff Bob Kirts attended a meeting on trespassing and hunting on the reservation Sept. 8 at the Plummer Library.)
Question: Is it good policy by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to withhold comment from a newspaper that it claims reports stories in an “unfair, biased and frankly defaming of the tribe”?
The U.S. Justice Department has awarded $1.9 million in grants to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho to “enhance law enforcement practices and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts.” The grants are for eight specific aims: Public safety and community policing; methamphetamine enforcement; justice systems relating to alcohol and substance abuse; corrections and correctional alternatives; programs targeting violence against women; programs targeting elder abuse; juvenile justice; and tribal youth programs. U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, who announced the grants today, said, “I am pleased to see such significant federal grant support to these two Idaho tribes. The U.S. Attorney's office is committed to working closely with and supporting public safety in Indian country.” You can read the full announcement here.
Federal authorities say jurisdictional gaps are hampering law enforcement in Indian country, so they're working with three Idaho tribes, including the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, to federalize tribal police officers and let them issue federal citations to non-Indians on the reservation for certain minor offenses. Once the lengthy process is completed - likely in time for next summer's boating season - non-tribal members who are boating on the southern third of Lake Coeur d'Alene and violate boating laws could get tickets issued by tribal officers and backed by the federal court. The southern third of the lake belongs to the tribe; the U.S. Supreme Court decided that in 2001.
The other two tribes working with the U.S. Attorney's office and the federal courts to federalize their officers are the Nez Perce and the Shoshoshone-Bannocks; you can read my full story here.
Former Coeur d’Alene Tribal Chairman and Casino Executive (1994-2006) David Matheson, is back in a seat of prominence, his old job as Casino executive, after five years of acrimonious litigation full of charges and counter-charges the press shouldn’t repeat because there were no verdicts and no real conclusions. Any observer of Native Americans, or anyone who has business or political dealings with tribes as an entity quickly learns the internal politics of any tribe are as Byzantine and as complex as any politics anywhere. If one has not been raised in that culture one cannot begin to understand the machinations. … Suffice it to say to outward appearances the Matheson family is back in the saddle of real power. Whether that is at the expense of some other powerful family, which is now out, who outside can say?/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here. (SR file photo/Kathy Plonka: David Matheson in previous stint running casino)
Question: How much involvement have you had with the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe?
The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Council has filled the top position at its casino in Worley, Idaho, with a tribal member who was fired from the same job and sued by the tribe five years ago for alleged breach of fiduciary duties. On Monday, David Matheson was named CEO of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, a position he held from 1994 until his forced ouster in 2006. “The Tribal Council felt that Dave Matheson was the most qualified candidate interviewed and that the time was right to offer Dave a second chance,” read a statement issued by the council on Monday. Neither Matheson nor tribal Chairman Chief Allan was available for comment on the apparent reconciliation/Kevin Graman, SR. More here.
While Charlotte Nilson loves the open feeling and the space at the expanded Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel, it's the natural aesthetics that most caught her eye. “We're beautiful inside and out,” the tribal council member said Monday following the grand opening ceremony to celebrate the $75 million project. Plenty of praise and thanks were given out during the hourlong event attended by about 200 people, including community, business and government leaders/Bill Buley, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Tribe photo of Chairman Chief Allan)
Question: How has the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe enriched your life?
According to promotional materials, Hn'ya'(pqi'n'n (no, my cat did not just sit on my kepyboard, that's really what it's called) captures “the best of each season”, and uses “fresh local ingredients to prepare each dish from scratch.” It's “a fun atmosphere delivering comfort food with a twist”. Nearly as twisted as your tongue as you try to say Hn'ya'(pqi'n'n, then give up and just call it by its English translation, 'the gathering place”. Items listed among the Chef's Choice items on their menu include a “Butter-basted Ground Short Rib Burger”, “Idaho Potatoes and Beer-battered Fish and Chips” and “Handmade Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese Sauce”/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.
Question: Have you bothered to learn the names and pronunciations of places that use Coeur d'Alene Indian language names, like Q'emiln in Post Falls and Yap-Keehn-Um Beach at North Idaho College?
Kobe beef raised in Idaho will take center plate on of the menu of the new steakhouse at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Casino, in Worley.
This photo shows the entryway to what's now called Ts'elumsm Steakhouse. The tribal name means “Stand Before the Fire,” and that title fits the location. The 120-seat steakhouse will have an open grill kitchen area for visitors to see their food prepared.
The steakhouse and the rest of the $75 million expansion at the casino and resort will be showcased in Monday's grand opening.
There's a daily story in Thursday's Spokesman-Review with more information about the expansion and other amenities.
Chief Allan has heard it all his life. Why do you Indians get so much help? Free this, free that, a check every month. Why do you have it so good? “My whole life, everywhere, going to elementary school, going to middle school, going to high school, going to college … I always heard, ‘Why do you guys get all that (funding)? Why do you get those monthly checks?’ ” said Allan, the chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. And so, when Allan heard Fox News bloviator John Stossel’s piece, “Freeloading Doesn’t Help the Freeloaders” – about the negative effects on tribes of the government’s “help” for them – it chapped his hide. Stossel didn’t mention the fictional monthly checks, but he managed to drag out every other element of the arguments Allan’s heard all his life/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.
Question: Will John Stossel or Fox News respond to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's complaint re: Stossel's stereotyping of American Indians?
Marc Stewart, Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe spokesman (re: “Coeur d'Alene Tribe demands Stossel apology”): The argument that treaties and executive orders happened “so long ago” and there for should be forgotten or that the Indians should just “get over it” and be “assimilated” is sadly part of the national political dialogue. It’s paramount to remember that Native Americans were recognized as United States Citizens in 1924. Indians weren’t allowed to vote in Idaho until 1950, others states didn’t allow Indians to vote until 1965. If you put that into context of Native Americans giving up their lives to defend America in wars, you can understand why Indians take offense at those who seek to marginalize them by using loaded words like “handouts” and “lazy” and “freeloaders.”
Question: Do you understand the culture and sovereignty status of American Indians?
Mike Kennedy (re: “Marc: Tribe police have other options”): If the good people of Benewah County want to cast their lot with the likes of Dick Harwood and Larry Spencer, they are free to do so and theoretically I do wish them the best. But I know that decision won’t end well for them. It never does. I, for one, will continue to engage with and work with the people of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, who have after generations of abuse and scorn, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and built a real future in a tough and unforgiving terrain. My kids are being raised with a respect and appreciation for the legacy of hundreds of years of history of North Idaho. History of their grandparents who raised a family as loggers and history of the Coeur d’Alenes who were the original owners of all of this land we love so much. Mike's entire comment here.
Question: Do you teach your children to respect the tribes in your areas of the Inland Northwest?
Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review reported that (Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, pictured) “said he’s received hundreds of calls and e-mails threatening him and questioning his integrity for backing the bill. “I’ve had threats I’d better never go into the county again,” he said. “I’ve been called all kinds of sundry names.” Opponents raised fears, ranging from the tribe taking away the guns of non-Indians who have concealed weapons permits and pass through the reservation to provisions of tribal code being used to impose civil penalties on non-Indians – something that already can occur today on the reservation. “This doesn’t change anything about that,” Wills said. Instead, it addressed criminal violations – saying tribal police officers could enforce state law against non-tribal members, but they’d have to be cited under state law and into state court”/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: What role did racism play in the 35-34 defeat of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe police bill?
Marc Stewart: All of the Tribal Police Department has been to Idaho Peace Officers and Standards and Training and graduated. They are in good standing and you could verify this easily by talking to the Idaho POST. As a result, they are able to enforce state laws in Kootenai County. You can also confirm that with Rocky Watson. The Tribe’s first choice was a cross deputization agreement with Benewah County. That failed numerous times after Benewah County backed out of two deals, including one in December. You can confirm that with Rep. Rich Wills. The Tribe’s second choice was the state law. Since that failed today, the tribe will seriously consider going the federal route. It’s not saber rattling. It’s not being a bully. It’s just a fact of life that people should prepare themselves for.
Question: Should the Coeur d'Alene Tribe look to a federal solution to protect its citizens with law enforcement on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation?
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, told the House, “I stand here with a heavy heart today to debate this bill.” He said some have accused people from his county of being racist. “I'll tell you that's nothing more than hate speech and that is not true, it is definitely not true. It's highly offensive to me and to the people of my county,” he said. He told the House, “It's hard for me to debate this bill because both the county members and the tribal members are my constituents. And the very reason that we're here is because the tribal council wants us to be here.” Harwood said he opposes HB 111, the tribal policing bill, because, “This bill will give the power to an entity that is not accountable to the people that it has the power over. That flies right in the face of everything this country's about, doesn't it? It sure seems like it to me”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
- House takes up tribal policing bill
- Debate for and against tribal policing bill
- Rep. Shirley: 'Prejudices and biases'
- Roberts tries to amend tribal policing bill, angering committee that heard it
- Roberts withdraws motion
- Tribal policing debate: 'Ghosts & goblins'
- Threats, name calling preceded narrow House vote to kill Indian policing bill
Question: Does anyone out there seriously think that Rep. Dick Harwood gives a rip about his constituents in the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe?
The amount of campaign contributions the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has given to Idaho politicians increased dramatically between 2004 and 2010. While the tribe, which operates several businesses and has about 2,000 employees, has long been a major player in the northern Idaho economy, its spending on political campaigns started increasing in recent years. In 2004 the tribe gave $4,450 in campaign contributions. Last year the tribe gave state politicians $58,000. The tribe gave more cash to legislative and statewide candidates in 2010 than several other major Idaho businesses including Potlatch Corporation, the state’s largest private landowner/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.
Question: Do you see any problems with the significant increases in political contributions made by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe from 2004 through 2010?
Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on the tribal policing issue that's back before lawmakers, after a deal that averted legislation last spring fell apart. “That agreement was not signed, which necessitates coming back before the Legislature and asking for a resolution of this issue,” the tribe's lobbyist, Bill Roden, told the House State Affairs Committee. Benewah County Sheriff Bob Kirts disputed that. “If you agree in principle, it's not a final contract,” he said. “They said, 'No, you can't make any changes to what you agreed to in Boise.' That's not how it works.”
The tribe said the county proposed about 50 changes to the agreement after the Legislature adjourned last spring. Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, the new House Judiciary Committee chairman and a retired state trooper, traveled to Benewah County in December to try to get the two sides back to the table to reach an agreement. Things looked promising, he said. “When I left there, I thought we had a good understanding, but it didn't materialize - the county wouldn't even come back to the table.”
The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is back before Idaho lawmakers this year, after Benewah County reneged on a deal last spring that prompted the tribe to drop legislation on policing that lawmakers were on the verge of passing. “Obviously we were extremely disappointed,” said Helo Hancock, legislative director for the tribe. “We felt like we'd been deceived in a lot of ways, that it was just an act to get out of getting a law passed.” This time, the tribe has dropped proposals calling for a six-month window to reach a collaborative cross-deputization agreement with a county, and just written a bill modeled after other states' laws clarifying that tribal police with all required training and legal indemnification can enforce state laws/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Can the Benewah County commissioners, prosecutor, and sheriff be counted on again to negotiate in good faith with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe on this matter?
The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is back before Idaho lawmakers this year, after Benewah County reneged on a deal last spring that prompted the tribe to drop legislation on policing that lawmakers were on the verge of passing. “Obviously we were extremely disappointed,” said Helo Hancock, legislative director for the tribe. “We felt like we'd been deceived in a lot of ways, that it was just an act to get out of getting a law passed.”
This time, the tribe has dropped proposals calling for a six-month window to reach a collaborative cross-deputization agreement with a county, and just written a bill modeled after other states' laws clarifying that tribal police with all required training and legal indemnification can enforce state laws. The House State Affairs Committee voted unanimously to introduce the bill.
Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, said, “I think I understand the value of the cross-deputization, because I was a county commissioner when we did that in the early '80s in Kootenai County, and it was to the advantage of law enforcement at that time. I continue to believe it is a benefit, properly done, and I'm hopeful that the bill that comes forward today will find acceptance.”
A new federal law - sponsored in part by Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson - allows tribal police officers to enforce federal law on reservations, and if necessary, to cite violators of state law into federal court. “That is not the desire of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, to use that,” Bill Roden, lobbyist for the tribe, told the committee. “But frankly it is such a severe problem that unless this is addressed at the state level, we're merely inviting further federal action, and the current law that is on the books would permit that.”
Last March, lawmakers heard chilling testimony about criminals going free; tribal officers tied up for hours waiting for deputies to respond and take over an arrest when they're needed to address other crimes; and more, due to the lack of a cross-deputization agreement. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe long has had such an agreement with Kootenai County, and it had one with Benewah County until the sheriff there revoked it in 2007.
Under questioning from lawmakers on the committee, Roden said Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, traveled to North Idaho in December and attempted to negotiate an agreement between the tribe and the Benewah County Sheriff, who wanted a change to last year's deal to ensure non-tribal members cited on highways would be cited into state court, not tribal court. The tribe agreed, Roden said. “The sheriff represented that if Benewah County reneged on that concept he was going to resign. I haven't seen the resignation yet, but we did get a letter saying that now he doesn't agree with that either. But we tried,” Roden said. “That's all I can say.”