Senator plans to use Unclaimed Property Fund to pay for Native American center

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma senators, who approved a plan Tuesday to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, are now hoping the House will give it the green light.

Senate Bill 1651 will fund completion of the project using $40 million from the state’s Unclaimed Property Fund, which will be matched by $40 million in private donations.

Sen. Kyle Loveless, co-author of the measure, said most of that donation money is coming from various tribes.

Loveless said only money that has been unclaimed for 10 years will be used.

The vote was 30-17 in the Senate.

Sen. Mark Allen, who voted against the measure, says the museum would take revenue away from the Indian cultural centers around the state.

Allen says he agrees with the project being called a “money pit” by other senators because previous funding and donation promises have been broken.

Loveless says previous state debt financing will eventually be repaid through museum ticket sales and economic development on the 232 acre site.

SB 1651 now advances to the House for consideration.