Tuesday, August 26, 2008

California Congress Drops Barona Trespassing Bill

Over the past 18 months, a Barona-sponsored measure to create a new infraction with fines of up to $500 for trespassing on Indian reservations moved through the Legislature without a single no vote. But the bill, SB 331, could never overcome the belief by some that it would be used against hundreds of California Indians banished from their tribes, often wealthy gambling tribes. To put those fears to rest, the Assembly Appropriations Committee this month added an amendment that declared the measure would not apply to former members of a tribe. Barona promptly dropped the bill. "The intent was to protect the tribes, specifically Barona, from unwanteds on the reservation, " said Sheilla Alvarez, the tribe's director of government affairs. "The intent was never to get involved with the disenrollment issue." Although Barona has not disenrolled any members, the sequence of events and the decision to abandon the legislation on the brink of final passage have fanned lingering suspicions. "It was a really odd bill, especially when you consider that tribes already have the authority to do certain things to deal with trespassing, " said John Gomez, one of some 400 people disenrolled by the Pechanga band of Temecula. "Hopefully it's finally dead." Barona, a 470-member tribe, operates a thriving casino resort on a 7,000-acre reservation near Lakeside. Tribal Chairwoman Rhonda Welch-Scalco said the legislation was developed after meetings with San Diego County Sheriff Bill Kolender and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, both of whom wrote letters of support.


t'eetilawuncha! said...


Good job everyone. We should all send a few more faxes and emails sending our appreciation. Maybe a couple to Barona for dropping it.

Anonymous said...

It does seem a little "fishy" though that Barona would drop the bill just because disenrolled people would not be considered tresspassers.

Because in virtually all, if not all of the disenrollment cases in California tribes, the disenrollees have not committed crimes against their tribes.

Still if Barona was just looking to keep lawbreaking trespassers off of their reservation, they would have not objected to amending the bill to exempt people who have legal claims to being on the reservation.

I think the bill excemptions didn't go far enough because there are other land owners on California reservations who have never been tribal members who own land on reservations that could have also been kept from their land by SB 331.

Someone asked the question, "was Barona carrying the bill for tribes that have disenrolled people or is Barona planning to disenroll some of their tribal members and they might have wanted to use the provisions of SB 331 to keep their disenrolled from their reservations?"

Anyhow, we should be glad that for now this bill appears to be dead, a definite victory for us.

Creeper said...

It is a good thing that SB-331 is gone for now, hopefully it stays gone. The only purpose for this bill was to keep out everyone that is not an enrolled member, those who are caught up in a moratorium would have lost their property - if you own land /property on the reservation, and this bill would have gone thru, you would have never been allowed to go to your land. This was truly an evil plan. In many minds, This was definetily hatched out by certain Tribes and forwarded to Barona to implement with the help of their political cohorts. I can't wait to see what they do next, evil minds never stop thinking bad things..i am sure that someone is laying awake at night to hatch a new plan....But whatever it is we will fight back, we ain't going away..get used to it.