The Daily Agenda: One tribe ups the ante on Ducey's legalized gambling scheme
But the house has the edge... Did somebody say free tickets? Plus if we see one more Sparky story, we're gonna snap.
We’re accepting bets on whether Gov. Doug Ducey’s biggest bipartisan achievement in his seven years as governor — legalized sports gambling — goes bust after the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe filed a lawsuit Friday alleging the entire concept of allowing gambling off the reservations violates the 2002 voter-approved initiative giving Native American tribes exclusive rights to offer gambling in Arizona.
But the odds are in Ducey’s favor.
The tribe made a host of other claims in its lawsuit, including that the law is special legislation that benefits sports team owners more than tribes and that legalizing gambling isn’t an actual “emergency.” But the argument that the law violated the Voter Protection Act, which prevents lawmakers from simply ignoring voter initiatives, is at the heart of its lawsuit.
At first blush, the tribe’s Voter Protection Act argument looks strong. The 2002 initiative allowed gambling only on the reservations, and voters resoundingly rejected a separate measure to allow off-reservation gambling. Politicians repeatedly claimed at the time that Prop 202 would restrict gambling to reservations. The Attorney General’s Office has warned that the VPA could present problems for changes to the gambling laws.
Of course, an army of lawyers for Ducey and the Native American tribes worked for months on the language of the law and saw this argument coming.
Ducey’s Office didn’t comment to multiple reporters when the lawsuit dropped Friday, but proponents are expected to argue that the original compact allowed for amendments, including to move gambling off the reservations, and that this is simply an amendment to that compact.
That argument is on solid footing, reports Daniel Wallach, a gambling lawyer and legal analyst for The Athletic, in this wonderfully geeky thread about the lawsuit.
The stakes are huge. State revenues from gambling are expected to exceed $100 million per year, and Native American tribes’ ability to continue on-reservation gambling depends on the deal (not to mention the extremely lucrative licenses that Ducey’s sports-team-owning buddies stand to lose, should the courts reject the deal).
The court is moving quickly, with an emergency hearing scheduled for Friday. And unless the lawsuit succeeds, you can start wasting money betting on The Diamondbacks as soon as Sept. 9.
Apparently, nobody has a clue what Fiesta Bowl means: Arizona lawmakers can attend Arizona State University and University of Arizona football games free of charge, but we can’t know about who attends because they’re categorized as “special events” instead of gifts, evading public disclosure rules, reports the Republic’s Alison Steinbach.
Dr. Cara Christ is old news: With Christ retiring, Ducey appointed Don Herrington, a longtime Department of Health Services employee, to run the department on an interim basis. Former Surgeon General and 2012 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Richard Carmona will be Ducey’s senior adviser on public health emergency preparedness. No word yet who will lead us through COVID-19 waves five and six.
Further proof Arizona bungled the Census: The town of Somerton, Arizona, grew in the past decade, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at official Census figures, according to the AP’s Astrid Galván and Mike Schneider.
Is now the right time for this?: The City of Chandler will spend $50,000 to pilot a new type of voting via mobile devices, the Republic’s Paulina Pineda reports. But don’t worry, it will only be used in a fake election (aren’t they all fake elections these days?).
Don’t Arizona my Colorado: The Colorado secretary of state approved rules that will prevent the Arizona audit circus from coming to the Centennial State.
Can’t everyone just get along?: Attorney General Mark Brnovich said last week that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors violated the law by refusing to comply with an Arizona Senate subpoena, threatening the county’s funding. County officials say threatening their money is “reckless and irresponsible,” reports KJZZ’s Ben Giles.
Public records are public, despite what lawmakers want: The Arizona Capitol Times is trying to get public records showing what Senate Democrats discussed about former Sen. Tony Navarrete’s arrest for child molestation, but the newspaper has so far been unable to get most of what it requested, reports the Cap Times’ Julia Shumway.
To be fair, they’ve been through a lot: After a break in standardized testing last year, Arizona students’ scores fell in both English and mathematics, reports KJZZ’s Rocío Hernández.
Who isn’t running for higher office next year?: The Republican gubernatorial contest got another entrant last week. Jorge Rivas, the owner of Trump favorite Sammy’s Mexican Grill, filed to run against five other Republicans for the party’s nomination, reports Cap Times’ Dillon Rosenblatt.
Bug Watch 2021 continues: More bugs! In addition to flies, moths and mosquitoes, caterpillars are everywhere these days. If this Substack thing doesn’t work out, we’re starting a pest control company.
We failed. We tried our best, but we couldn’t prevent a third pointless story about the ASU mascot. The Republic leaned into the clickbait and dredged up a year-old change.org petition that called on ASU to replace its devil with an angel.
We can’t stress this enough: Stop reading this shit. We’re all better than this! If we have to mention the mascot again, we’re starting our own petition to stop ridiculous petitions.
The size of government grew during fiscal year 2020 after declining for most of Gov. Doug Ducey’s time in office. The state workforce has nearly as many employees as fiscal year 2015.
The businessman governor has focused on reducing government since he took office. The pandemic made it so the government had to function for many more people than normal.
The state’s workforce report comes out annually, is posted publicly and has tons of interesting facts.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business types will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. today about the PRO Act. It’ll be held at the Arizona Associated General Contractors’ office at 1825 W Adams St. in Phoenix.
The Buckeye Constitution group will feature Randy Miller, the director of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association for Arizona, at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight at 20555 W Roosevelt St. in Buckeye.
Arizona Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr., a candidate for whatever becomes Congressional District 2, will speak to the Democrats of Greater Tucson at a virtual meeting at noon today.