Okla. Governor, Tribes React To Senate's Decision To Override Vetoes On Tribal Compacts

The two compacts determine how the state and tribes share revenue from taxes on tobacco sales and motor vehicle tags. News On 6's Chinh Doan was live with reaction from the governor and tribes.

Tuesday, July 25th 2023, 7:37 am

By: News On 6


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The Oklahoma senate voted in a special session on July 24th to override Governor Kevin Stitt's vetoes on two bills that would extend two tribal compacts.

These specific compacts determine how the state and tribes share revenue from taxes on tobacco sales and motor vehicle tags. The senate voted 34 to 7 on both compacts.

Gov. Stitt called the vote illegitimate, while tribal leaders said senators did the right thing. The votes turned the motor vehicle compact into law, while the tobacco compact has one more veto override vote in the house on July 31. Tribal leaders were at the capitol for the July 24th vote and said lawmakers are showing bipartisan efforts to help tribes and the state bring in money.

Cherokee Nation principal chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. said he believes keeping the compacts will preserve what has worked well for decades.

"The basis of it is, compacts put cooperation in front of conflict, and I think that's in the best interest of all Oklahomans,” said Hoskin, Jr. “I think if Oklahomans think of it in those terms, it becomes easier to understand why a supermajority of the legislature and all of the tribes believe we ought to have cooperation."

Gov. Stitt has said before he is concerned that more areas of the state would fall under the tribal compact because of the Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction.

The governor’s office shared this 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,"

The Choctaw Nation also shared 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.”

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