We may still get some form of expanded gambling in Texas, but at least one form of it is off the table for this session.
The Tiguas hopes to restart lucrative gambling operations on their reservation are dead for this legislative session, state Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, said Friday.
Part of the reason was the criminal record of Tigua Gov. Frank Paiz.
"I believe the Tigua legislation is not salvageable," Chavez said in an interview.
Lawmakers this week told the tribe chances were minuscule that any gambling legislation would pass this year.
Paiz's 20-year criminal history, they said, diminished what were already small odds.
"There are insurmountable obstacles," said state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who spoke with the tribe this week about its flagging gambling efforts.
More details are in this version of the story.
The El Paso Times reported on Paiz's long history with the law last year after he was elected to lead the tribe.
Court records and police documents show that Paiz was charged with offenses including theft in 1987, drunken driving in 1992 and assaulting a police officer in 2001. He repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of his probation, and spent at least a month in jail. He was also charged with domestic violence, though the case was dismissed.
Paiz said then that he had changed, had gotten an education and had become a leader in the tribal community. The tribe, he said, knew about his past and decided to give him a second chance.
Chavez said she told the Tiguas that Paiz's past would be a problem for legislators.
The only chance for gambling this year, she said, was an amendment to the Texas Constitution. That requires approval from 100 of the 150 House members and 21 of the 31 senators before the proposal could be placed on the ballot in November for voters to make a final decision.
Chavez said she could not ask 100 of her colleagues to vote for the tribe when its leader had such a problematic background. Doing so, she said, could put the lawmakers at risk in future elections.
"A CEO of any gaming corporation with the same exact background of the governor wouldn't be allowed to sign a contract with the state, so it's hard to ask my colleagues to do something a CEO can't do," she said.