Listeners Club

Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!


Local Headlines

Towns face losing funds if tribal team mascots don't change

Connecticut schools that still use Native American nicknames and mascots could take a financial hit if they continue to use those images without written consent from a state- or federally-recognized tribe in their region, under a provision tucked into a massive budget implementation bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.

Municipalities face the prospect of losing their allotment of revenue from the Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Fund, an account that’s funded with the state’s 25% share of slot machine revenues generated at the two casinos owned and operated by the federally recognized Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes.

The provision was included in the budget bill by state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, the co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

Meeting in a special legislative session, the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday passed the budget-related bill with the provision on a vote of 23-7. The bill now awaits action in the House of Representatives, which is scheduled to meet on Wednesday in special session.

Most of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns receive a grant from the Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Fund, with extra money earmarked for communities located near the tribes’ Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casinos. The amounts are based on a formula that involves a number of factors, including the value of untaxable property within the community. Payments are made three times a year and can total as much as $5 million or more for the larger cities.

During the state’s last two-year budget, about $103 million in grants was distributed from the fund.

Republican legislators, the minority party in the General Assembly, said they were surprised to see the provision included in the massive bill, which they didn’t receive until Tuesday morning. Sen. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, whose district includes Regional School District #6, dubbed the “Warriors,” was angry Democrats did not tell him about the change. Miner is the top Senate Republican on the Appropriations Committee.

“Just because you’re in the majority doesn’t mean you should act this way,” Miner said.

On Air Now

Markley van Camp Robbins

Local Headlines