Groups Upset with Referendum Challenge
As reported by the Providence Journal: "One day after Gov. Donald L. Carcieri and Atty. General Patrick C. Lynch asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court to grant an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of the casino referendum that would put the issue of a Narragansett Indian casino to the public vote in November, officials from state and local governments as well as special interest groups are disappointed with the news. "Carcieri and Lynch have asserted that the referendum to establish a Harrah's/Narragansett casino in West Warwick suffers from two constitutional flaws: first, that it may inappropriately give the Town of West Warwick and casino operators the constitutional right to own and operate a casino and second, that it gives only West Warwick veto power over a potential constitutional amendment. According to Carcieri and Lynch, the first flaw would violate sections of the state's constitution which assert that passages of constitutional amendments must be made by a majority of voters at an election, not a veto by any one group or municipality. The second flaw, the West Warwick veto provision, could possibly violate two sections of the state constitution which require majority rule.
".Casino proponents, on the other hand, seem to feel as though this is a ploy by Carcieri to keep the vote away from the people. Carcieri himself had challenged the constitutionality of a Rhode Island casino in general in 2004, thus creating the need for the referendum. In a press release offered by Rhode Islanders for Jobs and Tax Relief, Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, who also serves as Chairman of Rhode Islanders for Jobs and Tax Relief, expressed his disappointment in Carcieri's decision to challenge the referendum."