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Legislature won't try to override Gov. Kevin Stitt's vetoes from recent special session

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McCall and Treat

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka (center left), and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, are pictured in March 2020.

The Oklahoma Legislature will not try to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vetoes of three bills approved in special session on Sept. 29, spokesmen for the House and Senate said Monday.

The vetoed bills would have appropriated a total of about $24.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act money to the Oklahoma Arts Council, OETA and emergency management.

The legislation passed by wide margins in both the House and Senate, but Alex Gerszewski, an aide to Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said in a text Monday afternoon that appropriations will be dealt with in regular session, which begins Feb. 6.

About a half-hour later, House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, issued a written statement saying the House was willing to come back if the Senate would take up tax cut legislation already passed by the House.

“At a minimum, a moratorium on the grocery tax like the one the House has passed repeatedly would provide long overdue relief to Oklahomans fighting historic inflation,” McCall said.

“The House is open to any options to provide the inflation relief Oklahomans deserve. Absent that action by the Senate, the House does not plan to be back in special session for overrides or any other purpose.”

The Senate has resisted straight-up tax cuts because of the difficulty recovering lost revenue in economic downturns. Several alternatives, including temporary moratoriums and rebates, have been suggested.

Another ARPA funding package in limbo because of a disagreement between House and Senate leadership was not brought to a vote in the Sept. 29 session and thus also appears to be headed for reconsideration in regular session.

Sept. 27, 2022 video via Gov. Stitt's Youtube page. The governor asked the state legislature to pass legislation on the issue during the upcoming special session.

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"We're not going to beat these bills by rehashing the same far-left rhetoric and playing victim," said Brittany Novotny, who founded the PAC. "We're going to defeat these bills by finding common ground with Republicans in the Legislature and helping them to see this isn't necessarily the winning issue they think it is."

Gov. Stitt's attempts to oust Executive Director Joel Kintsel over the past year have been thwarted by the commission, whose members are mostly appointed by veterans organizations.

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