OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Governor Kevin Stitt vetoed his first measure of this legislative session.

Senate Bill 1130 would have blocked the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority from spending $600 million in unused pandemic funding this fiscal year.

In the measure, it states that the agency can use the funds for its budget in the coming fiscal years.

However, Stitt said he was concerned that the Health Care Authority was being punished for “its fiscal conservatism and wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

He also said the funds should go to finance strategic health care initiatives, not to cover the agency’s budget.

Officials say those surplus funds were given to the states by the government for Medicaid matching.

Right now, the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority is preparing to disenroll more than 300,000 Oklahomans who were added to Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic, but who no longer qualify for the program.

Stitt says decisions about the excess funds should wait until 2024, or after the unwinding period.