Gov. Stitt vetoes dozens of bills, threatens more over Oklahoma education funding fight
The stalemate between House and Senate Republican leaders is being injected with more urgency amid a veto threat from Gov. Kevin Stitt. And now, the Senate is fighting back.
Stitt says unless the Senate passes his education plan, he’s holding his veto pen ready.
The governor vetoed 20 Senate bills Wednesday — including measures that passed unanimously through both chambers — writing on almost all, “until the people of Oklahoma have a tax cut, until every teacher in the state gets the pay raise they deserve, until parents get a tax credit to send their child to the school of their choice,” he will veto any measures authored by Senators against his plan.
This comes a day after House Speaker Charles McCall used a rare procedural move to advance a new Stitt-endorsed education funding package, which includes teacher raises, a voucher-like tax credit program and $300 million in new school funding that shorts larger schools.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat told online nonprofit outlet NonDoc Wednesday the new package wouldn’t pass through the Senate, and the House move equated to “playing games and giving false hope.”
The vetoed measures include:
- Allowing a protective order to be filed on behalf of a child who is the victim of abuse.
- The creation of the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Medicine Authority, which would oversee the Veterinary Medicine Education programs at OSU.
- Continuation of the following agencies: the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education, the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the Board of Governors of the Licensed Architects, Landscape Architects and Registered Commercial Interior Designers of Oklahoma and the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
- A modification of the definition of “local law enforcement authority” as it pertains to who registered sex offenders should report to. The definition now includes tribal police, for sex offenders residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of an Indigenous Nation or tribe.
- Directing the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to provide emergency opioid overdose remedies to the Department of Corrections and county jails, as well as develop an opioid overdose education program for the DOC. Discharged inmates would also be provided with two doses of the opioid antagonist and overdose education if they are diagnosed with an opioid use disorder or are jailed for an offense related to opioids.
- Updating the definitions in the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act to include Space Force members.
- A modification of the Student Athlete Name, Image and Likeness Rights Act that adds several new regulations, including banning college athletic associations from prohibiting a postsecondary institution from identifying opportunities for a student athlete to earn compensation; and allowing those institutions to adopt “reasonable” time, place and manner restrictions to prevent an athlete’s name, image or likeness activities from interfering with team activities or the institution’s operations.
Late Thursday night, the Senate Rules Committee met to unanimously reject two of Stitt's cabinet nominations — Chad Mariska as Secretary of Commerce and Kevin Corbett as Secretary of Health and Mental Health.
Before the meeting, Treat told reporters the votes would be in response to Stitt's run on vetoes.
"We have deemed them inappropriate to serve," Treat wrote on Twitter.
Robby Korth and Ryan LaCroix contributed to this story.