The California Senate and Assembly ratified the new tribal gaming compact between the state and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians on Thursday, September 3, displaying overwhelming bipartisan support for the agreement, which supersedes the 1999 compact and extends to 2040.
“This is a tribal-state compact that our tribe is very proud of. We believe it is not only beneficial for our tribe but also for the state and county of Santa Barbara,” said Vincent Armenta, Tribal Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “The fact that our compact received nearly unanimous support in the state Senate and Assembly is a testament to the good work that can be accomplished through government-to-government negotiations.”
Once the compact was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on August 26, it went to the state legislature for ratification as Assembly Bill (AB) 1540.
The state legislature’s overwhelming support for AB 1540 was displayed on September 2 with 39 out of 40 members of the state Senate voting “yes” to ratify the new compact, and September 3 as 79 out of 80 Assembly members voted in favor as well.
“This is a compact that strikes a good balance and it’s mutually beneficial,” said Assemblyman Adam C. Gray, D-Merced. “It provides for incentives for renewable energy investments, water conservation projects and non-gaming related economic development. It’s good for the local community.”
The bill was presented at two separate informational hearings before the Senate and Assembly Governmental Operations Committees on September 1. The compact received strong support from numerous tribes, including Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, Barona Band of Mission Indians and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, as well as labor unions and local backing from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff.
The new compact is a “win-win for California, for our brothers and sisters of the Chumash nation as well as the County of Santa Barbara,” said Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas. “It’s an agreement we could all applaud.”
The Santa Ynez Reservation is located in Santa Barbara County and was established and officially recognized by the federal government on Dec. 27, 1901. The tribe is a self-governing tribal sovereign nation that follows the laws set forth in the tribe’s constitution, which is similar in text to the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution.
The tribe owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort, Hotel Corque, Hadsten House and Root 246 restaurant in the nearby town of Solvang, and two gas stations in Santa Ynez.