Topic:
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS; LEGISLATION; CASINOS; STATE GOVERNMENT (GENERAL); EDUCATION (GENERAL); INDIANS;
Location:
INDIANS;

OLR Research Report


August 16, 2007

 

2007-R-0475

CONNECTICUT LAW ON INDIAN TRIBES

By: Christopher Reinhart, Senior Attorney

You asked for a summary of Indian laws in Connecticut.

SUMMARY

We identified statutes that specifically applies to Indians or tribes. The statutes we found cover a number of different topics, such as specifying tribes and their reservations and powers, land claims and marketability of title, tribal-state compacts, archaeological investigations, and special education. The sections below summarize these statutes. In some instances, we discuss or identify regulations that implement the statutes but we do not discuss them in detail.

In addition, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe operates a casino under federal gaming procedures and the Mohegan tribe operates a casino under a tribal-state compact. Under the procedures and the compact, the state provides certain review, licensing, and law enforcement functions to the tribes through the Division of Special Revenue and State Police. The tribes must also comply with the Liquor Control Act. The tribes compensates the state for these functions. If you would like more details about these provisions, please let us know. Federal law also regulates relations between states and federally recognized tribes in a number of ways.

TRIBES, TRIBAL POWERS, AND RESERVATIONS

Connecticut law declares it is state policy that all resident Indians of qualified Connecticut tribes are full state citizens with all legal rights and privileges and also with certain special rights to tribal lands by treaty or other agreement. The law recognizes five indigenous tribes as self-governing entities with power and duties over tribal members and reservations: (1) Golden Hill Paugussett, (2) Mashantucket Pequot, (3) Mohegan, (4) Paucatuck Eastern Pequot, and (5) Schaghticoke.

The tribes' powers include (1) determining tribal membership and residency on reservation land, (2) determining the tribal form of government, (3) regulating trade and commerce on the reservation, (4) making contracts, and (5) determining tribal leadership under tribal practice and usage (CGS 47-59a).

Reservations

The law specifies the following reservations:

1. the Golden Hill Paugussett reservations in Colchester and Trumbull,

2. the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot reservation in North Stonington,

3. the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in Ledyard, and

4. the Schaghticoke reservation in Kent (CGS 47-59a and 47-63).

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are also both recognized by the federal government and have federal reservations.

By law, land held in trust by the state on October 1, 1989 remains in trust to prevent alienation and to insure it is available for future generations of Indians. A tribe has all other rights of ownership on reservation land. A conveyance by an Indian of land belonging to or that belonged to the estate of any tribe is void (CGS 47-60).

A tribe determines who can live on its reservation land (but anyone lawfully residing there on October 1, 1989 can continue to do so). The tribe can lease reservation land for up to 25 years. Any reservation land that escheats to the state is preserved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as an Indian historical area (CGS 47-64).

Regulations provide more details on who can reside and build on a reservation, reservation use, and aid to members (Conn. Regs. 47-59b-29 et seq.).

An Indian on his tribe's reservation can take, hunt, or trap wild birds or quadrupeds or take or assist in taking fish or bait species in the waters without a license, subject to regulations and seasonal and bag limitations set by law. The DEP commissioner must issue a private land deer permit to an Indian for use on his or her tribe's reservation if it is at least 250 acres in size. The law sets the conditions of the permit (CGS 47-65a).

Tribal Leaders and Members

The law requires tribal leaders to file with the governor their name and a written description of the selection method and the process of exercising authority. The governor must file the description with the secretary of the state and the Indian Affairs Council.

A leadership dispute is resolved according to tribal usage and practice. If a party to the dispute requests it, a council can settle the dispute. Each party appoints a council member and they jointly appoint one or two additional members. The council must have an odd number of members. In the parties cannot agree on any joint appointments, the governor can appoint someone who is knowledgeable in Indian affairs. The council's decision is final on substantive issues and can be appealed to the Superior Court to determine if the provisions of the written description filed with the secretary of the state have been followed. If the court finds the dispute was not settled according to these provisions, it must return the matter for proceedings according to the provisions (CGS 47-66i).

Tribal membership is determined by each tribe. By March 15, 1990 and annually afterward, the tribal leader must file with the governor a membership roll and the rules for tribal membership and government, which can include rules for membership revocation. The governor must file the rules and roll with the secretary of the state and the Indian Affairs Council.

Membership disputes must be resolved in accordance with tribal usage and practice. But a dispute may be settled by a council appointed in the same manner as for leadership disputes, with the same authority and right of appeal established for councils settling leadership disputes (CGS 47-66j).

Regulations provide more details on membership (Ct. Regs. 47-59b-21 et seq.).

Trust Agreements

The law requires the governor to enter trust agreements with willing tribes to define the powers and duties of the tribe, consistent with recommendations of the Indian Affairs Task Force's final report (CGS 47-66h).

Tribal Housing Authorities

The law authorizes a housing authority for each tribe with the same powers, rights, and functions as municipal housing authorities. The tribe's governing council must declare that there is a need for the authority. The laws that apply to municipal housing authorities and their commissioners apply to these housing authorities unless the law provides otherwise. The chief or governing head and governing council of the tribe have the appointment authority and other powers that the chief executive officer and municipal governing body have for these purposes. The housing authority must operate consistent with federal law (CGS 47-66a).

The chief or governing head appoints five commissioners who must be tribal members. Holding tribal office does not prohibit appointment to the housing authority. Someone can serve as a commissioner if he or she is a tenant or home buyer in a tribal housing project (CGS 47b-66b).

The housing authority operates within the reservation's boundaries (CGS 47-66c).

Real property within a reservation that is required by a housing authority for providing housing must be leased to the authority by the tribal governing body with DEP approval on lawful terms aggreable to the parties (CGS 47-66d).

Governor as Agent to Apply for Funds

The law designates the governor as the state's administrative agent to apply or contract for funds or aid from the federal government, Indian Housing Authority, or other state or local agencies to provide necessary services to housing projects on reservations or for other purposes authorized by federal or state governments that are compatible with these services (CGS 47-65).

Effect of Chapter on Indians

The statutes specify that nothing in the chapter on Indians (chapter 824) can be construed to confer tribal status under federal law on these tribes or to confer additional rights of ownership and title to land in the state that was not held in trust on June 1, 1989 (CGS 47-66h).

INDIAN AFFAIRS COUNCIL AND DEP

The Indian Affairs Council, with the DEP commissioner, administers legislation concerning Connecticut Indians and their reservations. It consists of one representative of each of the five tribes and three non-Indians appointed by the governor who are not state or municipal elected or appointed officials. Members serve three year terms. Each tribe can designate an alternate member. An appointing authority fills any vacancy for the remainder of a term. Members are paid $25 per day and reimbursed for necessary expenses. The council can select an executive director to serve at no expense to the state but he or she can be paid by funds contributed by the tribes.

The council provides services to the reservation communities and formulates programs suitable to their needs. It must review regulations and advise DEP about new regulations. It must report annually by September 1 to the General Assembly on its activities and the state of affairs of Indians in the state (CGS 47-59b).

The DEP commissioner, with the council's advice, cares for and manages reservation lands. The commissioner and council must set reservation boundaries by survey and file maps on the land records. Buildings that are not privately owned are under the commissioner's care and management. Residents can petition for repairs and improvements by DEP, with the council's advice. An Indian resident without sufficient means to support himself can petition the council for assistance to maintain a standard of living in his or her home that is compatible with his or her well-being. The council can provide other services it deems necessary to insure the well-being of residents on the reservations. DEP and the council can adopt regulations for these purposes and must do so to set eligibility standards for assisting those without sufficient means (CGS 47-65).

The DEP commissioner, with the council's advice, manages other state interests including maintaining state documents, providing information to tribal members, and coordinating governmental grant programs (CGS 47-66g).

Regulations provide more details on the council's duties and responsibilities (Ct. Regs. 47-59b-1 et seq.).

Tribal Funds

The DEP commissioner cares for and controls tribal funds with the council's advice. Tribal funds are defined as money held by the state for the tribe's use and benefit as distinguished from legislative appropriation (CGS 47-63). The commissioner must annually settle accounts for each tribe with the comptroller and report to the governor on the accounts and the condition of the funds for each tribe, the estimated value of lands, and income received and expenditures from the fund. The commissioner can bring an action to recover any property misappropriated from a reservation (CGS 47-66).

LAND CLAIMS

The law prohibits a defendant from claiming that the statute of limitations prohibits an action to recover land owned by Indians or sequestered for their use by the General Assembly or by any town under the law. This does not apply to an action against an Indian authorized by law to convey Indian lands or against a town authorized by law to convey Indian lands (CGS 47-61).

Marketability of Land Titles

The law authorizes the attorney general, in his discretion, to represent the interests of the state in any lawsuit where the marketability of land titles is threatened by a claim alleging that the disputed land was originally controlled or owned by an Indian tribe and was unlawfully transferred from the tribe (CGS 47-7b).

Title Insurance

The law requires the Insurance commissioner to adopt regulations setting guidelines to maximize the availability of title insurance coverage for real property that is subject to an Indian land claim. Title insurers must provide coverage according to the guidelines. The commissioner must consider the following factors in adopting regulations:

1. title insurance coverage offered by title insurers for property subject to Indian land claims;

2. whether the real property has been identified as subject to a claim in a notice of intent to sue or a lawsuit or whether the owner has been named and served as a defendant in a lawsuit;

3. the legal basis of the Indian land claim;

4. whether the real property is under an owner's or mortgagee's title insurance policy; and

5. whether the real property is vacant, residential, or commercial.

An “Indian land claim” is a claim for real property or money damages based on (1) an alleged illegal transfer, use, or occupation of the land and (2) a violation of any condition or restriction established by common law, statute, or other governmental enactment regarding alienation of lands owned by Indians or Indian tribes (CGS 38a-424a).

Regulations implement these provisions (Ct. Regs. 38c-424a-1 et seq.).

TRIBAL-STATE COMPACTS

Adopting or Amending Compacts

The law requires the governor to file a compact or amendment with the Senate and House clerks within 10 days after it is executed. If filed during a regular session, the legislature has until its adjournment to approve or reject a compact or amendment. If not filed during a regular session, the legislature has until adjournment of (1) the next regular session or (2) a special session convened to act on the measure. If the legislature does not act by adjournment, the compact or amendment is rejected and cannot be implemented.

If the governor files a compact or amendment within 30 days of the end of a regular session, the legislature can either:

1. convene in a special session and vote within 30 days or

2. vote on it within the first 30 days of its next regular session.

The legislature has until the end of either 30-day period to vote before the measure is considered rejected (CGS 3-6c).

Employment Rights Code in Future Gaming Compacts (CGS 31-57e)

The law requires the governor to include an employment rights code in any future state proposal in negotiations under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The governor must make her best effort to ensure that any final agreement includes the code.

The state cannot provide funds or services to tribes that assist their commercial enterprises until they adopt the code. This does not apply to funds or services (1) provided under an agreement concluded before the law took effect on July 1, 1993, (2) otherwise required by federal or state law, or (3) provided to a project covered by state or federal regulations or employment rights laws. This does not prohibit the state from enforcing any civil or criminal law or gaming regulation at a tribe's commercial enterprise and does not require the state to enforce violations of criminal law, if they are not violations off tribal lands. The governor can waive the restrictions in a declared emergency, after consulting with legislative leaders.

The state must oppose a tribe's application to the U.S. secretary of the interior to convert parcels of land the tribe owns into part of it reservation and such conversions are contrary to the state's interests.

The proposed employment rights code prohibits employment discrimination by tribes, requires them to permit unions to organize their employees, and, if successful, to recognize and bargain in good faith with the representatives chosen. The governor and a tribe, by agreement, can establish rights for employees of a tribe's commercial enterprises that exceed those specified in the code.

The law covers federally recognized tribes subject to the IGRA. It covers only a tribe's commercial operations, including any commercial conduct or transaction relating to a profit-making pursuit. This specifically includes operating a casino.

Employment Discrimination. The employment rights code prohibits Indian commercial enterprises from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, age, present or past history of mental disorder, mental retardation, sexual orientation, learning or physical disability, political or union activity, or because the employee exercises his constitutional rights, unless a certain characteristic is a bona fide occupational qualification or need. Its provisions cover hiring, firing, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment. The code also expressly allows tribes to give preference to their own members in hiring.

The code requires tribal commercial enterprises and their managers, supervisors, and agents to permit any individual, including a union representative, seeking to ensure compliance with its provisions access to the enterprise's nonwork areas during nonwork time.

Union Organizing and Representation. The code allows a labor organization that claims to represent a majority of a tribe's employees in an appropriate bargaining unit to submit its claim to an arbitrator. If the arbitrator verifies the claim, the code requires the tribe to recognize the organization as the employees' exclusive bargaining agent and to bargain with it in good faith to reach a labor contract. The code prohibits an arbitrator from recognizing representation claims from labor organizations that are tribe controlled or dominated.

Code Violations. The code allows labor unions and individuals claiming to have been injured by violations of the code to file a demand for binding arbitration with the tribe according to the rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The demand must be filed within 180 days after a violation of the code is known or should be known and must state, in plain language, the facts that give rise to it.

The arbitration demand must also be served on the AAA's Connecticut office. If no settlement occurs, there must be an arbitration hearing held in accordance with AAA's rules and procedures. Costs and fees must be split equally by the union and the tribe. The arbitrator's decision is final and binding on both parties. It may be enforced and appealed in state courts according to procedures set out in state law.

Retaliation. The code prohibits a tribe from retaliating against a union or person who exercises rights granted under it. Any person claiming retaliation may demand binding arbitration under these provisions.

Administering Tribal-State Compacts

The compact between the state and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut and the compact with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe as published in the Federal Register, require the tribes to reimburse the state for certain regulatory costs incurred by state agencies. The tribes must pay the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) under the provisions of the compact, including those on excess assessments. Assessments for law enforcement costs under the compact are paid to the Department of Public Safety according to the compact's provisions. Any underassessment in a fiscal year can be included in the next assessment. Payments are deposited in the General Fund and credited to the appropriation of the state agency that incurred the cost.

If the tribe is aggrieved by an assessment or by failure to adjust an excess assessment, it can appeal within one month of the time for payment to the Superior Court (in the Hartford Judicial District for the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and New Britain Judicial District for the Mohegan tribe), with a citation to the Division of Special Revenue (DSR) executive director to appear. Service is made as in a summons in a civil action and the appeal is in the same manner as assessments on insurance companies.

The DSR executive director must require applicants for a casino gaming employee license, casino gaming service license, or casino gaming equipment license to submit to state and national criminal history records checks before issuing a license (CGS 12-586f, -586g).

Connecticut Lottery Corporation

The law prohibits the Connecticut Lottery Corporation from introducing or modifying lottery games in a way that violates a compact or memorandum of understanding between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot or Mohegan tribes or any agreement with a federally recognized tribe (CGS 12-807).

CRIMINAL AND CIVIL JURISDICTION

The state assumes criminal jurisdiction and civil regulatory jurisdiction under federal law and the agreement and gaming compact with the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut (CGS 47-65b).

TAXATION

State law exempts from property taxation “reservation land held in trust by the state for an Indian tribe” (CGS 12-81(2)). Motor vehicles owned by a member of “an indigenous Indian tribe or spouse garaged on the reservation of the tribe” are also exempt from property taxation (CGS 12-81(71)).

Regulations provide details on exemptions from income tax (Ct. Regs. 12-702(c)(1)-3).

The sales tax exemption that applies to certain services rendered between affiliated businesses applies to the same services rendered between federally recognized Indian tribes and their affiliated businesses. This exemption covers transactions between a tribe and a business it controls and between two or more businesses the tribe controls. It applies to such taxable services as computer and data processing, management consulting, business analysis, and telecommunications and cable television services (CGS 12-412(62)).

State Grant in Lieu of Taxes

Reservation land held in trust by the state for an Indian tribe is eligible for a state grant in lieu of taxes. Land in the 1983 settlement boundary and taken into trust by the federal government for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is also eligible (CGS 12-19a).

Revaluation

Real property within the 1983 settlement boundary and taken into trust by the federal government for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation before June 8, 1999 or taken into trust by the federal government for the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut does not require revaluation (CGS 12-62(h)).

ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS (CGS 10-381 ET SEQ.)

Advisory Council

The 11-member Native American Heritage Advisory Council evaluates and makes recommendations on Indian heritage to the state archeologist and Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCT). The council consists of one member representing and appointed by each of the five indigenous tribes; one representing the Indian Affairs Council appointed by its chairman; one representing the DEP appointed by the commissioner; one representing the Archeological Society of Connecticut appointed by the Senate president pro tempore; and three knowledgeable about the Indian past, one each appointed by the House speaker and the minority leaders of each chamber.

Burial Sites and Skeletal Remains

People who believe human burials or skeletal remains are being or are about to be disturbed or damaged must notify the chief medical examiner and the state archeologist. If the remains are encountered during construction, farming, an archeological dig, or any other activity which may damage them, the activity must stop and may not continue until authorized by the examiner and archeologist. But authorization must be given within five days of the examiner completing the investigation he or she is required to conduct.

After the medical examiner conducts any necessary investigation, he or she must notify the state archeologist if the remains are Indian or were buried for over 50 years. Within 72 hours of the notification, the state archeologist must determine in consultation with CCT, the advisory council, DEP, and the landowner, if the site can be preserved and protected by a restriction on the land.

If preservation of the site is not prudent or feasible, or is not agreed to by the landowner, the state archeologist must, if feasible, provide for removal and the burial of the remains at another location or for additional archeological analysis before reburial. Such decisions must be made in consultation with the landowner and, if appropriate, the advisory council, CCT, and DEP. Any excavation and recovery of remains must be completed within five business days after the medical examiner's notification unless the landowner consents to additional days.

Human skeletal remains discovered during an archeological dig must be excavated under the state archeologist's supervision under a written agreement between the state archeologist and the permit holder. Due care must be exercised during the process to ensure that Indian's sacred meanings are respected and protected.

Private landowners are not liable for the costs of excavation, removal, or reburial of any remains.

Analysis and Reburial Requirements

The state archeologist must adopt regulations establishing procedures for storage, analysis, and reburial of skeletal remains discovered during archeological digs. The archeologist must consult with CCT, the advisory council, DEP, and the archeological community on these regulations.

The law requires reburial of any human remains found after September 30, 1989. The state archeologist, DEP, and the advisory council must jointly determine the conduct of each Indian reburial ceremony. DEP must designate state land for Indian reburials and these sites must be deemed sacred land and designated as state archeological preserves.

State Archeological Preserves

CCT, with concurrence of the state archeologist, is authorized to designate land it finds to be of state or national archeological significance as a state archeological preserve. Any private landowner must consent in writing to the designation after being informed of the designation's implications. Any state agency in control of public land must be notified in writing. Before designation may occur, written recommendations on the proposal must be sent to the commission by the state archeologist, and if there is evidence of Indian activity, by the advisory council as well. CCT must file notice of the designation on the local land records. CCT must adopt regulations governing the establishment, care, use, and management of archeological preserves.

The law requires a permit from CCT before archeological investigations may be conducted on state land or on a state archeological preserve. The permit must be issued with concurrence of the state archeologist. On archeological preserves, a CCT permit is also required for construction, demolition, or other activities that would endanger the archeological integrity or sacred importance of a site. Permits may not be issued for activities that disturb known Indian burial or sacred sites without review by the advisory council.

No permit is necessary if CCT declares an emergency or, if after consulting with the state archeologist, time for investigation is found limited. CCT must adopt regulations, with concurrence of the state archeologist, establishing procedures for issuing permits.

Applicants must apply for permits on the commission's form providing information that includes the time, scope, location, and specific purpose of the proposed work. Other information may be required by the commission after consulting with the state archeologist and the advisory council. Applicants must submit information on their qualifications, an excavation plan, and a written statement that upon completion of the excavation a report of findings with relevant documentation will be submitted. Failure to comply with a permit is grounds to deny a subsequent permit.

Applicants must pay reburial costs of human skeletal remains discovered under a permit.

Regulations provide details on archaeological preserves and permits (Ct. Regs. 10-381-1 et seq., 10-384-1 et seq.).

State Agency Actions

State agencies must review, in consultation with CCT, their policies and practices for consistency with preserving the state's archeological and sacred sites. The agencies must prepare an evaluation document specifying projects and programs that require detailed consultation in identifying and protecting the sites. But any project submitted to CCT under the law governing environmental impact evaluations is exempt from this requirement because the law already requires this type of review.

CCT Duties and Site Inventory

CCT must develop inventory procedures for Indian burial sites in consultation with the state archeologist, the advisory council, and DEP. The inventory must be available to state agencies.

CCT can adopt regulations to preserve sacred and archeological sites. Sacred and archeological sites are considered "historic structures or landmarks" under the CCT law.

Repository for Artifacts

The State Museum of Natural History is the official repository for artifacts and data gathered during archeological investigations on state land. The museum's board of directors must establish a collections policy dealing with acquisition of material and acceptance of gifts; preservation, care, and display of sacred objects and their use in ceremonies; and loans and transfers of materials to other museums or institutions.

DEP Land Acquisition

The presence of Indian sacred sites or archeological sites of state or national importance is a factor in determining which lands DEP purchases under the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program (CGS 23-75).

Penalties

The following acts are punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or twice the value of any artifact involved in the violation, or both:

1. excavating, damaging, or altering an archeological or sacred site on state land or in an archeological preserve except under a CCT permit;

2. selling, purchasing, exchanging, transporting, receiving, or offering to sell artifacts or human remains removed without a permit; and

3. desecrating, disturbing, or altering an Indian burial site, sacred site, and associated objects without a permit or a field agreement prepared by the state archeologist.

Violators are also liable to the state for the reasonable costs incurred by the state in restoring the site and associated sacred and archeological objects.

Definitions

“Native American” includes the state's five tribes, members of other U.S. or Canadian tribes who live in Connecticut, and people who occupied Connecticut prior to European settlement.

Sacred sites are spaces of ritual or traditional significance to Indians that are listed or eligible for listing on the national or state register of historic places. They include burial places, natural features with sacred meaning, sites of ceremonial structures, rock art sites, and sites of great historical significance to native tribes.

Archeological sites are locations where there is material evidence at least 50 years old of the past life and culture of people.

State Archaeologist

The state archaeologist's duties include coordinating the preservation of Native American and other human osteological remains and cemetaries with the CCT, chief medical examiner's office, Indian Affairs Council, and other state agencies (CGS 10a-112).

CASINOS

Casino Liquor Permits

A casino liquor permit applies to gaming facilities in which class III gaming is conducted (such as a casino or jai alai fronton). The permit applies to the premises in which gaming is conducted and to related facilities, such as restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, bingo halls, or convention centers.

The permit allows the (1) retail sale of all types of liquor for on-premises consumption; (2) manufacture, storage, and bottling of beer for on-premises consumption if the casino produces at least 5,000 gallons of beer annually on the premises; and (3) retail sale from guest bars located in hotel guest rooms. Such guest bars must be accessible only by key, magnetic card, or similar device given to a registered guest at least 21 years old by the hotel and they cannot be restocked between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

The same permissible hours of sale apply to premises operating under a casino permit as for restaurants, cafes, and similar establishments. Casino permittees, unlike restaurants and similar establishments, can sell on Christmas Day without requiring the permittee to have food available at the same time.

The annual casino permit fee is $2,400 plus $50 for each hotel room guest bar (CGS 30-37k, 30-91(a)).

Training Casino Personnel and Testing Gambling Devices

The law allows the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut or their agents to use and possess gambling devices that they are authorized to use on their reservation under the IGRA, anywhere in the state to train people in skills for employment by the tribe or for testing the device. No money or thing of value can be paid to anyone as a result of using the device at a location outside of the tribe's reservation. A person receiving training or testing the device may use it for that purpose. The tribe must give prior notice to DSR when it intends to use a gambling device for testing (CGS 53-278g).

Minimum Age in Casinos

The law restricts the access of people under age 21 in Indian casinos that conduct class III gaming and imposes fines, imprisonment, or both for violations. Under federal law, class III games are casino-type games of chance, including blackjack, poker, dice, roulette, and baccarat.

The law only allows people under age 21 in rooms where class III gaming is conducted if they are casino employees over age 18 and licensed by DSR, if their job duties require licensing. Such employees cannot serve or handle alcohol or be present in these locations if other laws prohibit it.

The law does not limit access to rooms where only bazaar games are conducted (games of chance involving merchandise rather than cash prizes) or to casino areas where class III gaming is not conducted. It specifies that it should not be interpreted to prohibit minors from receiving gifts of lottery tickets or chances in lawfully operated games.

Any underage person, other than a casino employee described above, who is present in a room where class III games are conducted is subject to a fine of up to $100. If he of she directly or indirectly places a wager, it is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. And anyone under age 21 who tries to get into a room where class III games are played by misrepresenting his age or using or exhibiting someone else's driver's license, passport, or other government-issued identity card or one that is forged, counterfeit, or altered is subject to a fine of between $100 to $500, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both (CGS 53-343a).

Revolving Door for Certain Public Officials and State Employees

The law prohibits certain present or former Gaming Policy Board or DSR public officials or state employees from (1) negotiating for, seeking, or accepting employment with a (a) business entity engaged in gaming operations in the state where controlling ownership is held by a federally recognized Indian tribe or (b) governmental agency of such a tribe with gaming operations in the state and (2) accepting employment with such an entity or agency within two years after leaving the state agency. This also applies to certain other present or former officials or state employees (CGS 1-84b).

Regulations further define the positions that are subject to this statute (Ct. Regs. 1-92-40).

MASHUNTUCKET PEQUOT AND MOHEGAN FUND

The fund is a separate, nonlapsing fund that receives revenue derived from casino gaming and provides grants to towns based on different criteria. It provides:

1. $20 million based on the criteria for making payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) for state-owned property,

2. $20,123,916 based on the PILOT criteria for private hospitals and colleges,

3. $35 million based on the formula for providing property tax relief grants, and

4. $5.475 million to certain designated municipalities distributed according to the property tax relief fund.

The law includes additional details for the grants and reducing them when the total grant for all towns exceeds the appropriated amount. It also specifies what the total amount of grants must be for certain towns.

The law authorizes the Office of Policy and Management to reduce a municipality's payments by $1,000 for each quarter for not paying DEP the required portion of an additional fee the town collects related to municipal planning, zoning, wetlands, and coastal management applications (CGS 22a-27j).

Each fiscal year, beginning in FY 07, the towns of Ledyard, Montville, Norwich, North Stonington, and Preston receive a grant of $750,000. This is in addition to the grants already paid to the municipalities from the fund, are paid before other grants from the fund, and must not be reduced proportionately if the total payable to each municipality is more than the amount appropriated for the grants that year (CGS 3-55i et seq.).

Additional Grants

For FY 08 and each fiscal year thereafter, $1.6 million of the appropriation to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund is distributed to towns that are members of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments and to distressed municipalities that are members of the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments or the Windham Area Council of Governments (PA 06-187, 96). PA 07-1, June Special Session, 81, allocates $1,666,665 for FY 08 and FY 09 for this purpose and it is not clear how these provisions interact.

The distribution must be proportional based on the payments each received in the previous fiscal year. It (1) is in addition to the grants already paid to the municipalities from the fund, (2) is paid before other grants from the fund, and (3) must not be reduced proportionately if the total payable to each municipality is more than the amount appropriated for the grants that year.

The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments member towns are: Bozrah, Colchester, East Lyme, Franklin, Griswold, Groton, Ledyard, Lisbon, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Salem, Sprague, Stonington, Voluntown, and Waterford. Killingly, Putnam, and Windham have been designated as distressed municipalities and are members of the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments or the Windham Area Council of Governments.

DISCRIMINATION

Generally, anti-discrimination laws, such as those on housing, credit, employment, and public accommodation, apply to protect Indians from discrimination. Many of these are enforced by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) in chapter 814c.

BUSINESSES

Office of Small Business Affairs

The Office of Small Business Affairs within the Department of Economic and Community Development aids and encourages small businesses, particularly those owned and operated by minorities and other socially or economically disadvantaged individuals in Connecticut. “Minority” includes American Indians and persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and maintaining identifiable tribal affiliations through membership and participation or community identification (CGS 32-9n).

Set-Aside Programs

The (1) municipal set-aside program for small contractors and minority business enterprises and (2) set aside program for small contractors, minority business enterprises, individuals with disabilities, and non-profit corporations for state contracts, both use the definition of “minority” used in the Office of Small Business Affairs statute (CGS 7-148u and 4a-60g).

CHRO can impose a penalty for fraudulently qualifying as a minority business enterprise with respect to a state contract (CGS 46a-56).

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION SYSTEM

PA 01-9, June Special Session, made state law conform to federal requirements by changing the way the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Indian tribes, their subdivisions, subsidiaries, and any businesses wholly owned by them are treated for purposes of unemployment compensation. In 2000, federal law was amended to exclude services performed by employees of those tribes from the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. PA 01-9, JSS, required most tribe employees who were excluded from federal coverage to be covered under the state unemployment compensation system effective December 21, 2000. It also gave the tribes the same option as state and local governments to pay for their unemployment compensation liability by reimbursing the unemployment fund dollar-for-dollar for benefits to their former employees rather than through contributions (taxes). The law excludes certain services performed by tribe employees from state unemployment compensation coverage. It provides more details about payments (CGS 31-222, 31-225).

SPECIAL EDUCATION PLACEMENTS

The state reimburses school districts for the costs associated with educating a child placed by a tribal government in the same way it reimburses for those placed by state agencies. It does this by including tribal agencies in the definition of an “agency” in certain sections of the education statutes (CGS 10-76d, 10-76g, 10-253).

EDUCATION

Native American History

Within available appropriations and using available resource materials, the State Board of Education must assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include Native American history (1) in their program of instruction and (2) as part of their in-service training (CGS 10-16b).

Indian Day

The law requires the governor to proclaim the last Friday in September as Indian Day each year. The day must be suitably observed in public schools as commemorating American Indians and their contributions to American life and civilization (CGS 10-29a(a)(9)).

OFFICE OF MULTICULTURAL HEALTH

The Office of Multicultural Health, within the Department of Public Health, is responsible for improving the health of all Connecticut residents by eliminating differences in disease, disability, and death rates among ethnic, racial, and cultural populations. Among its responsibilities, the office must monitor the health status of Native Americans/Alaskan Natives and other groups and compare the results with the health status of non-Hispanic Caucasians/whites and assess the effectiveness of state programs in eliminating differences in health status (CGS 19a-4j). The Advisory Commission on Multicultural Health includes a representative of a Native Americans advisory group appointed by the Senate minority leader (CGS 19a-4k).

OTHER PROVISIONS

Payments From Tribes

The comptroller is authorized at the end of each fiscal year to record as revenue for the fiscal year payments received by the treasurer from an Indian tribe under a memorandum of understanding or postmarked by the last day of July following the end of the fiscal year (CGS 3-114j)

Protective Orders

The statute giving effect to foreign orders of protection applies to a protection order from a court of an Indian tribe (CGS 46b-15a).

The statutes specify that a protective order, pursuant to the federal Violence Against Women Act, is valid and enforceable on tribal lands (CGS 46b-15 and -38c).

The chief court administrator is authorized to grant tribal police departments in Connecticut access to the automated registry of protective orders (CGS 51-5c).

Child Custody Proceedings

The law exempts from the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act any child custody proceedings governed by the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (CGS 46b-115c). The Indian Child Welfare Act (25 USCA 1901) is designed to govern custody disputes, foster care, terminations of parental rights, adoption, and related child welfare issues for Indian tribes.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Indian tribes are included under the definition of “state” (CGS 46b-212a). This act generally addresses child support orders when parties live in different states or countries.

Rural Development Council

The Connecticut Rural Development Council monitors, reports, and comments on the extent to which policies and programs coordinate the efforts of state, federal, tribal, and private groups to increase efficiency, eliminate duplication, identify gaps, and promote rural interests. The council also determines if rural development programs help rural towns gain fiscal autonomy (CGS 32-710).

Uniform Certification of Questions of Law Act

The law allows the Connecticut Supreme Court to ask the highest court of another state or of a federally recognized Native American tribe for an interpretation of that jurisdiction's law. It also allows the highest court of any such jurisdiction to ask the Connecticut Supreme Court for an interpretation of Connecticut law (CGS 51-199b et seq.).

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act

Where “state” is used in the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, it includes an Indian tribe or band recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state (CGS 1-267(15)). This act establishes a legal foundation for the use of electronic communications in transactions where the parties have agreed to conduct business electronically. It validates the use of electronic records and signatures and places electronic commerce and paper-based commerce on the same legal footing.

Minerals

The Dormant Mineral Interests Act does not apply to a mineral interest of an Indian tribe except as permitted by federal law (CGS 47-33p).

Credit Unions

Connecticut credit unions can buy one or more loans from any other lending institution or federally recognized Native American tribe, if it has a formal written agreement with the tribal government allowing the credit union to service and collect on the loans (CGS 36a-455a).

Connecticut credit unions can receive payment on shares from certain nonmembers including a federally-recognized Native American tribal government located in Connecticut (CGS 36a-456a).

REGULATIONS

A number of regulations mention Indians, including those dealing with fair housing, a community service policy manual, air pollution control, apprenticeship equal opportunity, non-discrimination in vocational rehabilitation, and the Department of Transportation's disadvantaged business enterprise program.

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