OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Senate voted Monday to override Governor Kevin Stitt’s veto of two tribal compact bills.
Lawmakers in the House voted to override Governor Stitt’s veto regarding shared motor vehicle tax revenue with tribal nations June 12.
Governor Stitt vetoed House Bill 1005x saying the bill, “amounts to a circumvention of the executive’s authority to negotiate compacts and because it is not in the State’s best interests, I must veto it.”
Stitt also called into question the constitutionality of the Legislature’s special session.
Now, the Senate has officially overridden Gov. Stitt’s veto – officially extending the compact with the Tribes for another year.
Another tribal compact bill was vetoed by the Governor. Senate Bill 26x is about shared revenue over tobacco taxes.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat said the bill only extends an existing compact, and because the compact deals with nearly $60 million in tax revenue, it is considered a budget issue.
The current extension proposed by the House and Senate will keep the compact until the end of 2024.
If the compact were to be ignored and never signed, Treat said the Tribes are not obligated to share the tax revenue with the state of Oklahoma.
The Senate fell one vote short to override the veto June 26, but were successful Monday.
The motion to override now heads to the House, who will vote Monday, July 31 to complete the override or allow Stitt’s veto to stand.
In response to Monday’s vote, Governor Stitt issued the following statement:
“Despite real concerns for the future of our state, the Senate has chosen to disregard the Governor’s compact in favor of compact language the tribes wanted. I am trying to protect eastern Oklahoma from turning into a reservation, and I’ve been working to ensure these compacts are the best deal for all four million Oklahomans. Unfortunately, the Senate seems to disagree and used an illegitimate process to do so.”
Several Oklahoma Tribes also issued a statement:
Despite Gov. Stitt’s attempts to muddy the waters, the Oklahoma Senate did the right thing today by overriding his veto of compacts regarding tobacco sales and motor vehicle tags. These important agreements provide massive benefits for tribes and all Oklahomans, and we thank the Legislature for doing what is right. The Choctaw Nation remains open to negotiating on long-term compacts, and we trust good-faith discussions will start soon.
All Oklahomans benefit from fair agreements between tribes and state government, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships.Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton
Today is a great step forward in preserving carefully negotiated compact agreements that have served both Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation well for decades.
The bipartisan supermajority of Senators who voted to extend our tribal-state compacts, overriding the Governor’s veto, also saw this need, and I thank them for their support.
This vote shows once again that the Governor is isolated in his choice of conflict over cooperation with tribes. Cherokee Nation is ready to continue working with any and all good faith partners in the state who respect our sovereignty.
I urge the Oklahoma House to return swiftly to complete the veto overrides. They can quickly end the troubling uncertainty these vetoes have caused for Oklahoma citizens and businesses.Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill posted on Facebook saying, “Honored to stand with fellow tribal leaders today at the Capitol in Oklahoma City to see the Senate override the Governor’s vetos on tobacco and motor vehicle license compacts. We agree with the legislature, that One Oklahoma means all of us together, not divided. Together, we’re greater!”
We appreciate the work of the Oklahoma Senate in successfully overriding these vetoes. Legislators have worked diligently to provide us all with much-needed time to develop a durable compact agreement. Throughout the years, we have consistently adopted a collaborative approach to working with both Governors and Legislators concerning matters of significance to both the Chickasaw Nation and the State of Oklahoma. We embrace legislative participation and remain committed to upholding our cooperative approach, fostering open and honest dialogue.Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby