Week One Of The 2024 Legislative Session Wraps Up

Saving Oklahomans money and protecting our borders. That's what Gov. Stitt talked about Friday at the Capital. Friday morning, he gave more insight on what he wants to see from lawmakers.

Friday, February 9th 2024, 3:31 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


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The first week of the 2024 legislative session has wrapped up, and Gov. Kevin Stitt has held his first weekly press conference to discuss pressing issues at the capitol with journalists.

This week, Gov. Stitt's main topics included tax cuts, border control, and the three indictments in the alleged Swadley's scandal.

Gov. Stitt kicked off the week with his sixth State of the State address, where he discussed his priorities for this legislative session.

Each day this week, a different group of protestors gathered at the capitol, including pro-life and abortion abolitionist groups.

The abolitionists were led by Senator Dusty Deevers and his “Abolition of Abortion Act.”

The Senate bill would classify any abortion as homicide and allow for the prosecution of the mother. Both Gov. Stitt and Senate Pro Tem say they haven't read all the details of the bill yet, but say from first glance it's not something they would get behind. "I have never wanted to punish the female seeking the abortion I've always wanted to protect that unborn life. That's where my focus has been, and that's where my focus will continue to be," said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat.

“That's something that I don’t even want to get into. We want to be a very pro-family state, pro-life state, we want to support the mothers, we want to support the children," said Stitt.

The governor has made a bold promise, saying he’ll sign any tax cuts that come across his desk. Now, he’s putting the pressure on the Senate to make the final move. “When I'm done after my 8 years, Oklahoma is gonna know that I was for lower taxes and smaller government there's no doubt about that,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Tax cuts have been the buzzwords at the capitol in 2024. Gov. Stitt called lawmakers back to the capitol a week before the regular session, to look at a cut to the personal income tax during a special session.

The state house passed the measure, and it is now stalled in the Senate. The governor renewed his push Friday morning to give Oklahomans what he calls a “well-deserved pay raise.” “It does two things: it continues to make us the most business-friendly state, but number two: it slows the growth of the government,” said Stitt.

Senate leaders say they wanted to hold off on cutting any taxes until the Board Of Equalization numbers came out on February 15th. “Are they gonna cut taxes if it's a bigger number? Are they gonna cut taxes if it's the same number? What are they waiting on?” asked Stitt.

While we wait on the final decision for tax cuts, Gov. Kevin Stitt says he’s waiting on the green light to send the Oklahoma National Guard back to the border. “We were willing and ready to send some troops if we need to,” said Stitt.

Stitt says he met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week while he was in Houston, saying Abbott hasn’t requested our help, but Oklahoma stands ready. “So he knows our position. He knows the other governor's positions. We have sent a letter to President Biden saying we have to secure our southern border,” said Stitt.

Oklahoma was the first state to send national guardsmen to the border in 2023, where they spent 100 days assisting border control in Eagle Pass, TX.

Back here at home, an indictment is handed down to three men charged with conspiracy to defraud the state, allegedly involved in the Swadley's scandal. 

On Thursday, Ronald Brent Swadley, Curtis Ray Breuklander, and Timothy Raymond Hooper were charged with one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the state and five felony counts of presenting false or fraudulent claims against the state.

Prosecutors said that Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen presented false invoices to the Tourism Department for payment of public funds, and they worked with a restaurant supplier to fabricate invoices with inflated amounts. “That will all play out in court,” said Stitt.

Those charges and a civil dispute between Swadleys and the Department of Tourism are making their way through the courts, deciding who’s on the hook for the $17 million. “We're gonna hold vendors accountable in the state of Oklahoma,” said Gov. Stitt.

The governor will hold weekly media availabilities that can be streamed on News9 each Friday morning.

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