OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected Gov. Kevin Stitt's attempt for another hearing regarding the court's earlier ruling that deemed the state's tribal gaming compacts with two Native American tribes invalid.
The high court Monday voted 5-1 to deny the rehearing. In July, the court determined Stitt's compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe were not valid because the Republican governor overstepped his authority by trying to greenlight sports betting and house-banked card and table games. The ruling also concluded that state law prohibits those types of games.
The governor requested the rehearing so the high court could clarify whether parts of the compacts that do not conflict with state law remain valid and explain his authority in entering cooperative agreements with sovereign tribes.
But the court denied the hearing without comment, with Justice M. John Kane IV dissenting and Justices Tom Colbert and James Edmondson recusing from the decision, the Oklahoman reported Wednesday.
“This denial of a rehearing further underscores that Gov. Stitt's go-it-alone approach is not legal nor helpful in moving state-tribal relationships forward,” Matthew L. Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, said in a statement.
The state Supreme Court ruling that decided the tribal compacts were invalid stemmed from a lawsuit filed against Stitt by state's top Republican leaders, Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall.
Meanwhile, the governor's office said the state Supreme Court doesn't have the final say, adding that a Washington, D.C., federal court is handling the case.
“The ruling in that case will determine the validity of the compacts under federal law,” said Baylee Lakey, the governor's communications director.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Native American voting rights group and two tribes on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against South Dakota state agencies, alleging that the state is violating federal law by failing to offer adequate voter registration services.
The lawsuit alleges that the state's agencies didn't provide ample opportunities to register to vote or update voter registration information at places like motor vehicle and public assistance offices in areas near Native American reservations. Federal law requires the agencies to help people register to vote at those kinds of offices, including ones that provide public assistance or serve people with disabilities.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Four Directions, a voting rights group, brought the lawsuit against the South Dakota Secretary of State, Department of Public Safety, Department of Social Services and Department of Labor and Regulation.
The complaint in the lawsuit says that the number of voter registration applications has “precipitously declined” since 2004. Four Directions also documented instances in which Department of Social Services offices near reservations failed to help people register to vote or update their voter registration.
Jacqueline De Leon, a staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, which is representing the two tribes, said in a statement, “We told the state that there was a problem, but they did not fix it. Apparently they did not see the disenfranchisement of Native voters and the silencing of Native voices as an important issue. We do.”
Attorneys for the tribes and Four Directions wrote to Secretary of State Steve Barnett in May, alerting them to the problems with voter registration. Barnett's office replied, according to the complaint. But the group alleges that Barnett's office did not specify how or when the problems would be fixed.
The Secretary of State's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Representatives for the three other agencies named in the lawsuit said they would not be commenting because it is a legal matter.
PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request by President Donald Trump's campaign to argue against a lawsuit seeking to ensure mail ballots from the Navajo Nation are counted even if they arrive late.
The Trump campaign and various local and national Republican Party entities argued that they can't count on Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to represent their interests in the case.
But Judge Murray Snow ruled that Trump, the GOP and Hobbs have all taken the same position against allowing more time to count ballots from the Navajo Nation. He also denied a request by a liberal group, the Arizona Advocacy Network, to join the case. The group had hoped to argue in favor of counting all late-arriving ballots statewide.
The lawsuit was filed by several members of the Navajo Nation challenging Arizona's current law, which says election officials cannot count mail ballots that are received after election night. The argue that mail service is much slower and far less accessible on reservations and that the existing deadline will disenfranchise voters.
They're asking Snow to require Arizona officials to count ballots that are delivered up to 10 days after election day, as long as those ballots come from tribal members living on reservations and are postmarked by Election Day.
Snow has scheduled arguments in the case next week.