Bonacic: Land Claim/casino Hearing Agenda Set

John J. Bonacic

February 27, 2005

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope), Chairman of the Senate Housing, Construction, and Community Development Committee, today announced the list of those individuals who have been invited to testify orally at the first Senate hearing on Governor Pataki’s land claim/casino gaming legislation (S.2365). The Hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 28th from 11:00a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Hearing Room A of the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

The focus of the public hearing will be to hear expert testimony on the land claims by the various Native American Tribes and Nations, as well as gather views on the impacts of the Governor’s proposal for five casinos in the Catskills.

In particular, Senator Bonacic has asked that speakers address issues relating to transportation, affordable housing, education, social services, and public safety impacts.

"Sullivan County officials have voted in a bi-partisan fashion to support 2 to 1 the Governor’s land claim/casino proposal," stated Senator Bonacic. "As such, we must now focus our attention on and gain a complete understanding of what this means to the residents of not only Sullivan County, but on the surrounding communities and State, as well."

The following State officials will be appearing at Monday’s hearing: Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Boardman; Lynette Stark, from the Department of Environmental Conservation; and Rob Williams, Counsel to the State Racing and Wagering Board.

The following Native American Tribal and Nation leaders are planning to testify: Chief LeRoy Howard of the Seneca/Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, Timothy Twoguns of the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, William Gollnick and Kathy Hughes, General Manager and Vice-Chairwoman respectively of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Robert Chicks, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, and Chief James Ransom, of the Akwesasne Mohawks.

Others providing testimony include: Dick Riseling of Casino Free Sullivan; Denis Hughes, President, New York State AFL-CIO; James Maney, Executive Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling; Richard Barnes, Executive Director of the New York State Catholic Conference; Peter Ward and Edward Malloy (jointly) representing theNew York Hotel and Trades Counci and the Building and Trades Council of Greater NY, James Calvin, Executive Director of the New York Association of Convenience Stores; and Ira Steingart of the Catskill Casino Coalition.

Testimony is limited to ten minutes by witnesses. In addition, written testimony is being accepted through March 25, 2005, and is not limited in length. Written testimony can be submitted to the attention of Michael Avella, Esq., of the Senate Majority Counsel/Program Office, Room 430 Capitol, NYS Senate, Albany, NY 12247.

"Ensuring that impacts are fully reviewed by members of the Legislature is extremely important as this sweeping land claim legislation affects many New Yorkers. I am sure all of the Committee members are looking forward to listening to the oral testimony and reviewing the written comments on this legislation," concluded Senator Bonacic.

Other hearings are scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 2003 at the Sullivan County, and March 9 in Cayuga County.

# # #