The Muscogee Nation responded to Governor Kevin Stitt’s veto of House Bill 3501.
The Act was developed to increase the coordination between state agencies and tribal judicial systems in the state to promote the general safety of all Oklahomans.
In the Nation’s response, it stated that Stitt’s veto of the public safety bill is just a prime example of how “his actions work against the best interests of every single person in Oklahoma.”
Concerning motor vehicles, the bill required the Department of Public Safety to recognize and act upon certain reports of conviction and disqualify driving privileges, define certain terms, provide codification and declare emergency in a qualified tribal court.
“Gov. Stitt directly refuses to allow the State Department of Public Safety to revoke State-issued driver’s license of persons with tribal- court convictions for DUI, vehicular manslaughter/negligent homicide and other specified crimes.”
According the Nations response, it is “absurd” that the Stitt will allow this go on, ultimately giving those criminals the ability to continue using their state issued licenses after committing crimes where the state would act in suspending or revoking a license.
“The House and Senate each passed this bill with near unanimity,” the Nation’s response said.
More than 96 percent of Oklahoma lawmakers showed to support of House Bill 3501 at the state Capitol, just to witness Stitt veto the legislation.
The vote in the House was 69 yea, 3 nay, 28 exc.; the Senate was 44 yea, 1 nay, and 3 exc.
“We encourage them to answer Gov. Stitt’s veto with a vote to override and ensure this law goes into effect for the benefit of all in Oklahoma.”
Looking at the relationship between the Oklahoma District Courts and tribal courts, including the MCN, history shows the courts have had a reciprocal (full faith and credit) arrangement since the 1990s.
The response claims that the vetoed legislation would apply that full-faith-and-credit relationship to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
“The Governor’s veto, if allowed to stand, means that the Department of Public Safety wont have the benefit of using tribal court convictions to improve public-safety on the roadways.”
Below are reference materials provided by the MCN supporting the full-faith-and-credit in tribal judicial proceedings.
Oklahoma statute recognizing judicial proceedings in tribal faith and credit: https://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=93646
Oklahoma District Courts listing of full-faith-and-credit tribal courts: https://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=458214