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PCI gaming efforts hit another roadblock

By By Sherry Digmon
Advance Staff Writer
Roadblocks continue in the Poarch Creek Indians' efforts to establish casino gaming in Alabama. The latest roadblock is coming down from Washington, D.C., as Sen. Jeff Sessions attempts to prevent the federal government from being involved in Indian gaming disputes.
Poarch Creek Indian Tribal Chairman Eddie Tullis calls Sessions' effort a "moral crusade."
The State of Alabama has refused to negotiate a compact with the tribe to allow Indian casinos.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the tribe cannot sue the state but did rule that Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt has the authority to mediate disputes between tribes and states when the parties cannot agree on Indian gaming.
Sessions said this "authority" allows Babbitt to do what states don't want done – give the go-ahead for Indian casinos.
Temporary moratoriums have prevented Babbitt from stepping in, but Sessions wants a permanent ban to go through Congress to the president's desk.
Tullis said he believes Sessions is not considering what the people of Alabama want. He feels Alabama voters favor gambling in the state, despite an overwhelming defeat of Gov. Don Siegelman's lottery proposal last year.
Tullis said residents of California recently voted overwhelmingly for Indian gaming in their state.