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What Are Compacts in California Law?

Calif. has a compact with the States of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington forming the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

By Chris Micheli, July 9, 2022 7:21 am

California’s statutes contain a number of “compacts” between the State of California and either other states or Indian tribes. In most of these instances, the compact is ratified because it has been negotiated between the State’s chief executive (i.e., the Governor) and the respective state or tribal government.

For example, Fish and Game Code Division 11 contains the Pacific Marine Fisheries Compact, which is contained in Section 14000 to 14105. Section 14000 provides: “The Governor is hereby authorized and directed to execute a compact on behalf of this state with any or all of the States of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington for the purpose of cooperating with those states in the formation of a Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.” This compact authorizes the Governor to enter into the specified compact with other states.

Section 14001 provides the “form and contents of the Pacific Marine Fisheries Compact shall be substantially as provided in this section and the effect of its provisions shall be interpreted and administered in conformity with the provisions of this division.” It has 12 Articles.

An additional example is Government Code Title 7.4, which provides the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, and is contained in Sections 66800 to 66802. Section 66800 provides: “The Legislature of California hereby ratifies and approves the ‘Tahoe Regional Planning Compact’ as set forth below.” This compact ratifies a particular compact that was already executed between California and another state.

Section 66801 provides “the provisions of this interstate compact executed between the States of Nevada and California are as follows:” It has 10 Articles. Section 66802 provides three legislative findings and declarations.

A final example Government Code Title 2, Division 3, Part 2, Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 12012.25 which provides: “The following tribal-state gaming compacts entered into in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (18 U.S.C. Sec. 1166 to 1168, incl., and 25 U.S.C. Sec. 2701 et seq.) are hereby ratified:”

This section of law ratifies 57 different compacts. Each provides: “The compact between the State of California and ___, executed on ___.” As such, the state has ratified all of these individual tribal-state gaming compacts that were negotiated between the Governor and the respective tribal government.

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