California Governor Newsom’s Good Faith Gaming Compact Negotiation is Challenged by Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe


(USA Herald) – This is the case of Alturas Indian Rancheria v. Newsom et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The Alturas Indian Rancheria tribe has accused California Governor Gavin Newsom of negotiating in bad faith and failing to reach a tribal-state gaming compact in a new lawsuit.

The tribe argues that the governor did not negotiate in good faith, as he refused to agree to a new deal that is materially identical to a model compact. The Alturas Indian Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe, and they have sued over the stalled negotiations. In response, Governor Newsom has asked the court to dismiss two of the seven claims in the suit filed by the tribe.

The tribe’s lawsuit alleges that the state violated California Government Code Section 12012.25 because the governor refused to negotiate a compact. They also argue that California violated the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act by refusing to negotiate in good faith under its own state law and to submit a compact that is materially identical to the tribe’s 1999 compact.

The governor argues that he has no obligation to agree to a new deal that is materially identical to a model compact. He also argues that Section 12012.25 doesn’t create a cause of action against the state and that it does not impose any state-law duty of care on the state defendants to negotiate in good faith.

However, the Alturas Indian Rancheria tribe urged the court not to dismiss the two portions of its lawsuit chastising the governor for failing to negotiate in good faith a new gaming compact that would be materially identical to the one currently in place. The tribe asked for summary judgment on both claims in the complaint, saying any compact negotiations should be limited only to nonmaterial terms, and the governor cannot refuse to negotiate and execute a materially identical tribal-state compact.

The tribe argues that the Legislature has the power to limit the governor’s constitutional power to negotiate and that it should be given the opportunity to review a pact with materially identical terms. The Alturas Indian Rancheria tribe also claims that the governor can’t block the Legislature from performing its constitutional and statutory function of ratifying or even reviewing a materially identical tribal-state compact by choosing not to act.

As the lawsuit proceeds, it’s clear that the Alturas Indian Rancheria tribe is fighting to ensure that the governor negotiates in good faith and follows through on any agreements made. Samuel Lopez, News Contributor for USA Herald, reports that the governor should provide evidence that he negotiated the tribal-state gaming compact in good faith. With the tribe’s claims under consideration, it remains to be seen what the outcome of this lawsuit will be.