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Judges Rule That Schwarzenegger Strongarmed Gaming Tribe

By PETER HECHT, Sacramento Bee | Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The court ruled that the demand constituted an improper attempt by the state “to impose a tax” in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The opinion, and other recent legal rulings, have significantly chipped away at California’s negotiating power with its casino tribes.

“This is the first time that a finding of ‘bad faith’ has ever been made by the court,” said Nikki Symington, a spokeswoman for the Rincon Band of Luiseño Mission Indians from San Diego County. “That means the state is not playing fair and the tribes have no recourse. And this is the first time the fees charged by the state have been called an illegal tax.”

Schwarzenegger spokesman Jeff Macedo said the Governor’s Office intends to appeal the matter to the full 9th Circuit court.

“We believe that we negotiated in good faith,” Macedo said. “We believe this is the federal courts telling the states again what they can and can’t do by reducing our ability to negotiate.”

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