Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill that would report tribal convictions to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, calling it a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
The tribes said it would make Oklahoma roadways safer. The five tribes are now calling on lawmakers to override that veto. In his veto message the Governor implied tribal governments aren't legitimate.
“This is a bill that was brought to me by the Choctaw tribe and the Department of Public Safety,” Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell, said debating in favor of his bill in March.
His HB3501 cleared the House 69-to-3 and the Senate 44-to-1 after being amended.
“In current statue, the Department of Public Safety can accept statistics sent in on your driver’s license from other states, other municipalities, counties, but tribes were not listed in current statue,” Hardin said.
“Tribes believe anything that happens on tribal lands that’s written on a citation should go to the department of public safety and they should be able to count that towards your points on your driver’s license,” he said.
Stitt called the bill "a wolf in sheep's clothing." He wrote in his veto message this week, "It would essentially require the State to carry out tribal court adjudications, no questions asked."
"If this bill had required of tribes what is expected of all legitimate governments - namely: transparency, accountability, and reciprocity among others, perhaps I would have signed it," the veto message said.
The bill would have required reporting tribes to adopt the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010, a federal law laying out law enforcement and training guidelines.
Leaders of the Five Tribes said in a joint statement the bill was an opportunity to keep unsafe drivers off Oklahoma roads.
"This bill, with language provided by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and overwhelming support by the legislature, will keep drivers, citizens and communities safe for all four million Oklahomans in our state,” the Intertribal council said in a statement.
A veto override would require another 3/4 vote from both chambers, a threshold that was already met in previous votes.