Dis-enrolled tribal members oppose Romero bill

Dis-enrolled tribal members are raising concerns that a bill from Senator Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, could result in them being kicked off of reservations.

Tribes say the bill, SB 331, is needed to help them enforce their property rights and tribal sovereignty. Such protections are particularly needed in rural areas where non-tribal law-enforcement responses can be slow, supporters say.

Titled “Unlawful entry: tribal land,” the bill would create a new infraction against non tribal members entering “Indian lands” without permission from the tribe. Romero wrote the bill on behalf of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino and resort northeast of San Diego. Tribes could issue a fine of up to $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense. A representative from the Barona Tribe did not return calls seeking comment by press time.

Romero’s communications director, Russell Lopez, said that her office is in talks with several interested parties about the bill. He said this includes at least one utility that has concerns about their ability to perform maintenance on Indian lands. Romero is not ready to talk yet about any possible amendments, he added.

However, many of those on tribal lands are recently dis-enrolled tribal members, according to John Gomez Jr., a dis-enrolled member of the Pechanga Band of Luise

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