The agreement that would allow the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria to proceed with a 3,000-slot machine casino outside Rohnert Park sailed through the state Senate Monday.
The agreement, or compact, was approved on a 34-4 vote; it needed 27 to pass as an urgency statute, which means it would take effect this year rather than next.
State Sen. Mark Leno, whose district includes Rohnert Park, carried the bill, AB 517, on the senate floor. He said the compact reflected "nine years worth of negotiation" between the tribe and the surrounding community and governments.
"All the money that will be expended by the tribe (in mitigation) is for local communities," he said, referring to a revenue-sharing agreement with Rohnert Park the tribe signed in 2005, and an agreement with the county to negotiate financial mitigations for the casino's impacts.
There was no discussion on the floor of the bill, which last week moved through Senate and Assembly committees.
Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican whose 36th District includes Riverside County, home to some of the state's biggest Indian casinos, rose to support the compact bill.
Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa voted against the compact.
The bill still needs a two-thirds vote in the state Assembly to move forward to the federal Department of Interior. The department has 45 days to ratify or reject it. That is the last governmental hurdle the tribe needs to clear before it can begin work, although the compact requires an agreement with Sonoma County to be signed before work can begin on the casino project.
The Assembly could take up the compact bill as early as Thursday, observers said.
Following the Senate vote, Scott Nielson, executive vice president and chief development officer for Station Casinos, a Las Vegas company bankrolling the venture, declined to comment.
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