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States brief ~ RI Supreme Court finds Indian casino proposal unconstitutional

[JURIST] Leading Monday's states brief, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion [PDF text] today saying that a proposal to build a gambling casino in West Warwick does not meet the state constitutional requirement that all lotteries be state run. Supporters of the casino, proposed by the Narragansett Indian tribe [tribe website] and the Las Vegas-based Harrah's Entertainment, said the proposal was constitutional [JURIST report] because it gave the state lottery division control over all operations at the casino, but the court found the proposal would not give the state control over key aspects of the casino's operations. This is the second proposal for the casino that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The South Carolina Supreme Court [official website] will hear oral arguments Tuesday on whether the State Ports Authority [official website] has the exclusive power to develop ports within the state or if counties may develop plans for terminals under the state's home rule law. Jackson County contends that its plans to develop a $500 million privately financed steamboat terminal is a legitimate exercise of the government's power under home rule law, but the State Ports Authority says it has the exclusive power to "promote, develop, construct, equip, maintain and operate a harbor or harbors with the state." Last April Governor Mark Sanford [official website] along with six other governors wrote a letter saying the citizens of the state "will be best served by maintaining public seaport facilities under the guidance of South Carolina State Ports Authority." The Authority has announced its own plans to build a steamboat terminal at the site. AP has more.

  • New Mexico Treasurer Robert Vigil [official website] and former state Treasurer Michael Montoya have been charged with racketeering for allegedly receiving kickbacks from financial advisors who received commissions for helping invest public funds. The alleged kickbacks received by Vigil include cash, tickets to political fundraisers, and charitable donations. In announcing the charges, US Attorney David Iglesias said, "Public funds should never be used like private ATM machines." Vigil said that he plans to continue serving as Treasurer and he has pleaded not guilty. AP has more.

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