Oklahoma Lawmakers Return To Capitol For Special Session On Tribal Compacts

Oklahoma lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol on Monday morning for a special session. Senators will decide whether or not to override the governor’s vetoes on two bills dealing with tribal compacts.

Friday, July 21st 2023, 5:04 pm



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Oklahoma lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol on Monday morning for a special session. Senators will decide whether or not to override the governor’s vetoes on two bills dealing with tribal compacts.

News 9 talked to Pro Tem Greg Treat and Governor Stitt ahead of the vote.

“The governor vetoed two bills dealing with tribal compacts; one on tobacco compacts and one on motor vehicles,” said Treat.

The compacts determine how the state and tribes share revenue from taxes on tobacco sales, and motor vehicles.

The Senate will vote to override the governor’s veto.

“This is about giving the governor another year to try to negotiate in good faith with tribal nations,” said Treat.

Treat says without the extension, the tribes will continue normal operations, without having to share revenue with the state.

“With a combined price tag, if they all run out, about a little over $50 million in negative impact to the state,” said Treat.

“I'm not against the tribes having business and growing. I am just very protective of the taxpayers,” said Governor Stitt.

Stitt is asking senators to vote no on the override. He is concerned that a larger portion of the state would be eligible for the tribal compact because of the McGirt decision.

“It has a definition there that expands from trust land to all of eastern Oklahoma. So after the McGirt decision, they're trying to use this special definition that would say all of eastern Oklahoma is now part of these compacts,” said Stitt.

“Any gas station could set up a smoke shop wherever they wanted, and the state would have to start wiring them money based on the tobacco sales,” said Stitt.

Senators took up the override last month but fell short by one vote. Treat told News 9 at the time that multiple senators that were planning to vote yes on the override were out of town that day.

Treat says he believes they have enough “yes” votes going into Monday’s session, but worries some of his members will be swayed to vote “no.”

“The governor has been working senate members extremely hard trying to encourage them to not come to the capital and/or vote no,” said Treat.

Treat says millions in revenue and the relationship between tribes and the state is on the line.

“I have a great deal of confidence that if people are not intimidated by the governor and do what they think is right, that we will override,” said Treat.

The Senate will meet Monday morning at 9 a.m. to vote on the veto override. If they get the votes, the House will come back one more time on the 31st to vote on the override of the tobacco compact bill.

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