Sen. Dodd: Tribal Mutual Aid Bill Signed

Friday, September 24, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, today announced that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation he introduced as chair of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to allow the state to enter mutual aid agreements with tribes, improving tribal access to federal funding and reimbursements when they assist with emergencies such as wildfires.

“Tribes are an important partner in responding to a plethora of emergencies, including an increasing number of wildfires,” Sen. Dodd said. “They deserve to be covered for their expenses, which encourages more mutual aid cooperation. I thank Gov. Newsom for taking this important step toward to bolster our joint emergency response.”

“The Pala Band of Mission Indians is proud to have sponsored SB 816, a critically needed bill to streamline and make more robust the state of California’s emergency response system,” said Robert Smith, the tribe’s chair. “Tribes in this state play a vital role in emergency response, helping to ensure fire protection, rescue and paramedic services to all California citizens. We thank Sen. Dodd, the state Legislature, Gov. Newsom and those who supported this landmark legislation.”

For many years, California Indian tribes have responded to emergencies on trial lands and beyond. But because they are not part of the state’s Master Mutual Aid Agreement, they have been unable to receive reimbursement for their costs outside their jurisdiction. Senate Bill 816 changes that, adding federally recognized tribes to the agreement. Now, tribes will be eligible for federal money for providing mutual aid on wildfires and other emergencies.

In signing the bill, Gov. Newsom said, “tribes play an integral role during emergencies such as wildfires, and California reimburses for disaster response activities occurring on state-owned land.” He further described the longstanding mutual aid agreement with member agencies as working “effectively and appropriately.”


Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at