State Senate Fails to Override Gov, Stitt’s Tribal Compact Veto

News 9 - June 27, 2023 6:33 am


Gov. Kevin Stitt‘s veto of a bill dealing with tribal compacts stands for now, after the state Senate failed to override Monday.

This is not a new disagreement between the governor and the tribes.

“We fell one vote shy,” Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat (. “We got 31 votes out of a chamber of 48.”

Overriding the veto would extend the tribal compacts–which are deals between the state and the tribes over shared tobacco tax revenue–but the governor thinks more negotiation is needed.

Stitt said in a statement he “believes today’s outcome underscores the states commitment to negotiating compacts in good faith that are beneficial to all parties involved.”

Read his full statement below:

“I am pleased by the Senate’s vote to sustain my veto of the Tobacco Compact extension and I believe that today’s outcome underscores the state’s commitment to negotiating compacts in good faith, that are beneficial to all parties involved. My original compact offer—to extend the compacts previously negotiated and entered by Oklahoma’s Governor and tribal counterparts—is still on the table for each tribe that has reached out and remains available to those that have not yet. I look forward to continuing to work with them to reach an agreement.”

This is just one chapter in a long battle that has lawmakers and the governor going around in circles. Stitt cites the McGirt decision as one of the driving factors.

“They’re pushing for this compact that basically takes the definition of tribal land and after the McGirt decision it has different consequences,” Stitt said. “It could potentially mean up to 42% of our state. That’s why they want this compact signed.”

However, Treat said this isn’t the case.

“These compacts do not extend any definition of tribal land,” Treat said.

Stitt said the renegotiated compact he proposed is fair.

“If it’s really about a one-year extension and a 50/50 term then they should sign the one we’ve offered the tribes,” Stitt said.

But Treat said this isn’t over yet.

“There were 9 people missing today, 4 of which have already given us their yes vote,” Treat said.

A revote is on the agenda following the extension of the special session.

“We have the votes; we just need to find a day that’s agreeable and get everyone up here to vote,” Treat said. “But I’m confident we’ll get it done.”

For now, Governor Stitt’s veto stands and negotiations between him and the tribes are at a standstill.

“Extending the compacts will provide important benefits for Oklahomans and allow the state and tribal nations to continue to successfully work together as we have prior to this Governor’s administration,” House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson said.

The Cherokee Nation released the following statement from Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. following Monday’s vote:

“I’m disappointed that the State Senate fell one vote short of the two thirds majority to override Governor Stitt’s veto and extend the tribal tobacco compact. A strong majority in both chambers of the Legislature understand the need to extend the tobacco and car tag compacts, which reflect their strong support across the state. The Senate did not take up the car tag compact override.

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat promised to take the tobacco override up again, and with all Senators in attendance, we believe there are sufficient votes to override the vetoes on the tobacco and car tag compact extension bills. Cherokee Nation will continue to advocate for the veto overrides, which will prevent disruption to the economy as we work together for a longer-term solution.

For the good of all Cherokees and Oklahomans, I urge Governor Stitt to negotiate in good faith for that solution. Cherokee Nation remains open to finding win-win solutions as long as they respect our tribal sovereignty.”

Related: Choctaw Nation Dismayed With Gov. Stitt’s Veto Of Tribal Compacts


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