Byline: Morgan Taylor/ MM
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Senate Bill 429 was overridden in a vote of 80 yays, 11 nays and ten excused by the Oklahoma State Legislature on May 25. Students who choose to wear tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies are now protected by the law.
The bill was vetoed by state governor Kevin Stitt on May 1 just as students are building excitement for educational accomplishments.
Introduced to the Senate in February, the bill passed through with 45 yays and zero nays. In the House of Representatives the bill flew through 90 yays and one nay.
The bill was sent to the Governor on April 25 and was vetoed within six days.
In his veto message Stitt claimed the “proverbial Pandora’s Box” would open, encouraging other groups to “wear what they please” during ceremonies.
Legislature also overrode his veto of SB 299 with overwhelming support with 83 yays, 12 nays, and six excused.
The bill extends the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education until 2026.
The measure modifies the appointing authority for membership by allowing the Speaker of the House of Representatives to appoint 5 members, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to appoint 4 members.
It provides that a vacancy on the Council in a seat representing an Indian tribe or the tribal education department of an Indian tribe may be filled by the original appointing authority from a list of nominations submitted by the elected executive leaders of Indian tribes in the state.
Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill released a statement on social media and said, “These bills are now law and we thank our legislators for doing the right thing and advancing measures that should not be considered controversial or used as political maneuvering.”
The Muscogee Nation National Council adopted a resolution urging legislators to override the vetoes during an Emergency Session early May.
The bills were just a couple included in the long list of vetoes legislators are referring to as the “tantrum 20” from Stitt.
Stitt released a statement after vetoing 20 plus bills:
“Oklahomans elected me to advocate on their behalf and fight for the taxpayer,” Stitt said in the statement. “I take this responsibility seriously. So, I cannot, in good faith, allow another year to go by without cutting taxes and reforming education, both of which we can absolutely afford with our $1.2 billion surplus and over $6 billion in savings.
“Therefore, 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, I am vetoing this unrelated policy and will continue to veto any and all legislation authored by Senators who have not stood with the people of Oklahoma and supported this plan.”
Follow Mvskoke Media for updates on tribal policy in the state legislature.