News-Gazette, The (IL)
laws and legislation
Miami (Native American tribe)
Bill would extend state aid to Miami
KATE CLEMENTS; News-Gazette Capitol Bureau Chief
Landowners defending their property against claims by the Miami Indians
would continue to get state legal aid for another year, under a bill
awaiting Gov. George Ryan's signature.
$100,000 legal defense fund the governor authorized in February is
set to expire June 30, whether or not all the money has been spent.
bill the General Assembly sent to the governor this week authorizes
another $100,000 in legal reimbursements for the budget year beginning
Miami tribe filed suit in July against 15 landowners in 15 East Central
Illinois counties. The tribe claims that it is the rightful owner
of about 2.6 million acres under the 1805 federal Treaty of Grouseland.
is apparent that this suit will take longer to resolve than we had
originally hoped," said state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville.
a few of the property owners named in the lawsuit have title insurance.
rest have to pay for their defense out of their own pockets.
defense fund allows the Illinois Attorney General to reimburse the
landowners' attorney at a rate of up to $200 per hour the same rate
at which special assistant attorneys general are paid.
landowners have racked up about $60,000 in bills so far, said Attorney
General spokesman Jerry Owens.
of the unused money from the first $100,000 would carry over to the
budget year beginning July 1, but a new $100,000 would be available
if the governor signs the new bill into law.
District Judge J. Phil Gilbert recently granted the tribe's request
to switch legal teams, a move that further delays a ruling on the
earlier allowed the state to intervene in order to ask to have the
case dismissed, but he has not ruled on the dismissal motion, said
state Rep. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon.
that motion isn't successful, we must have the resources in place
to help local landowners continue the fight," Righter said.
lawmakers have said it is important that the state help the landowners,
because the case impacts more than just those 15 people named in
the tribe wins in court, all of the property in the claim area, including
state-owned land such as the University of Illinois, would be in
County is also providing $10,000 to help pay for the landowners'
(c) 2001 The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette
Record Number: 0EC5B188EC5CD94C