Texas tribes push to reopen casinos

AUSTIN, TX (AP) -  Two American Indian tribes asked Texas lawmakers today to let them reopen casinos.

Backers say the proceeds could be used to pay for education, health care and other essential services.

Leaders of the Tigua tribe of El Paso and the Alabama-Coushatta of Livingston went before a House subcommittee on the first casino gambling bill to get a public hearing this session.

The state shut down the casinos in 2002. Tigua Lt. Gov. Carlos Hisa says since the casino closed, some services for tribal members have been terminated.

The tribes say they should be allowed to offer gambling because Texas voters approved a state lottery in 1991.

The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission testified against the proposal.

Only the Kickapoo tribe of Eagle Pass, governed by a different federal law, runs a casino in Texas.

The tribal casino defense to prosecution bill is HB1308. The proposed constitutional amendment on Tigua casino gambling is HJR108.