OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Governor Stitt rejected Senate bills while the Senate rejected Stitt’s cabinet secretary positions, all over the fight for the best education plan.
In one day, Stitt vetoed 20 Senate bills and said he would “continue to veto any and all legislation authored by Senators” who do not stand by his education plan and tax cuts.
“So until we get tax cuts, until we get parent choice done, we’re not going to do this other stuff for lobbyists and special interest groups let’s get those two things done and then we’ll be happy to talk about some other things in the budget,” said Stitt, during his weekly press conference with the media.
The House supports Governor Stitt’s education compromise plan. But their version tethers teacher pay raises, private school tax credits, and more funding for school districts. If one fails, they all fail.
The Senate has been openly against the idea of a one-for-all package.
Governor Stitt said his authority is limited.
“I wish it was totally up to me but it’s not…I have to get House and Senate together, that’s why I’m trying to push them together,” said Stitt.
But his targeted vetoes weren’t taken well by Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat.
“He has chosen to exercise his veto authority, we are choosing to exercise our confirmation authority,” said Treat.
Late Thursday night the Senate rejected two cabinet secretary positions.
In two separate unanimous votes, the Senate Rules Committee voted to reject Kevin Corbett for Secretary of Health and Mental Health, and Chad Mariska for Secretary of Commerce.
The Senate also gutted five different House bills and replaced the language with their own new education plans. All five of the bills are separate and run independently, unlike the House plan.
Two of the plans included a pay raise for teachers up to $8,000, and a new private school tax credit plan with five different income brackets associated with each tax credit amount.
Pro Tem Treat said those two ideas were supported by the Governor and House Speaker Charles McCall.
“They told me send us a school choice bill that is not tethered to another bill, if you can do it, and we just did it,” said Treat.
The Governor not indicating that the vetoes are over.
“I don’t know. Stay tuned,” said Stitt.