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Oklahoma’s governor uses veto power to fight with state lawmakers

oklahoma Gegg Kevin Stitt (R) is playing hardball with state lawmakers, vetoing several bills as he tries to get lawmakers to act on school choice legislation and tax cuts.

Stitt’s refusal to sign legislation unrelated to the two issues he’s focused on comes as he vetoed 20 Senate bills over the past week. Each veto he issued came with a caveat that he will continue to veto legislation until both the House and Senate agree on school choice and tax cuts.

WHITMER SIGNS FIVE INVOICES, ONE TAX EXCLUSION

“Until we get tax cuts, until we get parental choice, we’re not going to do all these other things for lobbyists and special interest groups,” Stitt said at a news conference. “We do those things and then we’ll be happy to talk about other things in the budget.”

FILE – Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt delivers his State of the State address Feb. 6, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, file)

Sue Ogrocki/AP

There are two bills Stitt is not a fan of: House Bill 1934 and House Bill 1935. The governor disapproves of how both bills limit the number of tax credits, with the former bill capping credits at $150 million during the first year. , and increasing the cap in subsequent years, and the latest bill limiting appropriations to $200 million for fiscal year 2023 and eliminating the cap for fiscal year 2025.

In response to Stitt’s refusal to budge, Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat said the chamber “will not be harassed” by the governor’s actions, according to Center Square.

“Bullying doesn’t work in this building,” Treat said. “The Senate has been besieged or tried to be besieged this entire session, both of our counterparts on the floor when they stood up in the second week and said, ‘nothing can be changed in these two bills that is acceptable.’

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Amid the debacle between the governor and the House and Senate, Stitt says the two chambers are talking and he’s “very optimistic that we’re going to land the plane.”

On April 21, Stitt unveiled the Oklahoma Education and Parental Choice Plan, which calls for investing a total of $800 million in education. In his presentation, Stitt stated that he believes his proposal is “the best way forward for education reform this year.”

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