Newsom signs off on 25-year deal for Valley tribe to run local casino

The bill, now law, required some bending of CEQA – the state’s strict environmental review law – to ensure tribal casinos could remain operational.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Wednesday a bill introduced by state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) that would exempt certain tribal gaming projects from review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Senate Bill 900 ratifies gaming compacts, the basic agreement authorizing tribal gaming, between the state and two groups: the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe and the Middletown Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians.


SB 900 does this partly by classifying the two compacts as non-projects for the purposes of CEQA, which ordinarily requires that developments undergo detailed environmental reviews that can invite intense public scrutiny.

A news release from Hurtado’s office made no mention of the CEQA exemption and instead focused on the two compacts’ economic and community benefits.

“For decades the Tachi Yokut Tribe has been a valuable partner in the Kings County Community,” Hurtado said in the release. “The tribe provides scholarship assistance, job training and adult education programs, health and welfare assistance and other social services. I am pleased that the Tachi Yokut Tribe will receive the recognition they deserve.”

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