Thursday, May 05, 2005

Casino to be decided in Court.....AGAIN!

Rep. Williamson has gotten the Casino bill its day in court (again). Last night, the House passed the resolution we talked about last week (no Senate vote is required) so these questions will be posed to the court [paraphrased]:

(1) Would the proposed act comply with Article VI, Section 15, of the RI Constitution which says 'all lotteries permitted in Rhode Island be operated by the state'? (2) Would the proposed act, comply with the provisions of Article VI, Section 22, of the RI Constitution requiring a statewide and municipal referendum to become effective? (3) Would the proposed act, violate the equal protection clause of Article I, Section 2 of the RI Constitution, in: (a) granting to the Narragansett Indian Tribe and its chosen partner the right to enter into an exclusive contract as casino service provider; or (b) in providing that the state retain a share of net casino gaming income that is different from the share of net income that the state retains from other gambling facilities in the state? (4) Would the proposed act, be violative of the equal protection clause of Amendment XIV, Section 1 of the US Constitution, in: (a) granting to the Narragansett Indian Tribe and its chosen partner the right to enter into an exclusive contract as casino service provider; or (b) in providing that the state receive a share of net casino gaming income that is different from the share of net income that the state receives from other gambling facilities in the state
I guess we'll have to wait see what the Supreme Court says. This procedure does raise an interesting precedent. Generally, the judicial branch allows the legislative branch to legislate reviewing statues after they have been passed. In this situation, the Judiciary is being asked to render a decision prior to the passage of legislation. One representative (Rep. Gorham, D-Conventry) made the comment last night
You know all the questions . . . we could have asked the Supreme Court. Is it OK to protect the environment? Is it OK to be tougher on crime? . . . Is it OK to protect religion? We've even had the gay marriage issue up here, but what are we sending to the Supreme Court: is it OK for Harrah's to have a casino?
Good point. Though the situation here is slightly different in that the Supreme Court struck down a referendum that was passed by the General Assembly last year. It's not that the legislature is asking the court to give an opinion on every piece of legislation. Instead, they've been at this thing a long time, were rebuffed last year, and want to get it right. Let's wait and see what the justices have to say about it and if we will have summer of 2004 redux or not.

1 Comments:

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1/13/2006 08:05:00 AM  

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