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Oklahoma Supreme Court rules legislature has authority to create state, tribal compacts

Oklahoma’s highest court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the Oklahoma State Legislature does have the authority to pass bills that create compacts between the state and tribes.

“I’m thankful that today’s decision gives future governors clarity around compact negotiations.” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said.

Stitt filed suit after state lawmakers overrode two of his vetoes on compacts passed through the legislature.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond represented legislative leadership in that lawsuit.

“I was honored to represent the Legislature in their efforts to uphold Oklahoma law, and I am pleased with the unanimous ruling in our favor. Gov. Stitt has repeatedly abused his office to wage baseless legal battles against our Native American tribes, wasting millions of dollars in state resources. Drummond said. “This ruling makes clear that the Governor’s compacting authority is statutory only, subject to intervention by the Legislature when the Governor fails or refuses to act in the best interest of all four million Oklahomans.”

Stitt said he’d been working on an agreement with the Cherokee Nation on a car tag compact.

“Right now, individuals driving with Cherokee car tags owe the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority over $4 million in missed tolls, so it is essential that we have a valid car tag compact to ensure that we have a Top Ten infrastructure for years to come. Now that we know that tribal governments can go to the Governor or the Legislature to negotiate compacts, I hope the Legislature agrees with me that we need to collect from every tag that drives on our toll roads.” Stitt said.

Governor Stitt’s efforts to renegotiate tribal compacts date back to his first term in office.


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