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Gov. Stitt threatens to veto all bills from Senators who don't support his education plan

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Posted at 1:39 PM, Apr 27, 2023

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Governor Kevin Stitt threatened to veto any legislation filed by Senators who don't support his education plan in a letter to the Oklahoma Senate Wednesday.

He went on to sign 33 bills into law, nine of those being Senate bills. He vetoed 25, 20 of those being Senate bills.

Previous coverage >> Teachers, parents respond to Governor’s $800M education proposal

On all of those 20 vetoed Senate bills, Stitt provided the same reason for his veto.

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"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," Stitt said.

During a weekly news conference Friday, most of the questions Stitt faced involved his power to veto bills to get his education plan passed.

The governor says having just come off the campaign trail where he advocated for tax cuts and school choice, he wants to stick to what he promised to do.

Governor Stitt says he’s been very clear there’s two things he wants passed, tax cuts and school choice.

For the tax cuts, he says there’s more than $6 billion in savings and he wants to give that back to taxpayers.

Also, much like he wrote in his letters, Stitt reiterated that until tax cuts and school choice is passed, he won’t pay attention to other bills from lobbyists and special interest groups.

However, he says things are now moving in the senate.

“The senate has now passed another school choice so now we’re talking. We are moving together. This should have happened a month ago but now we are actually getting somewhere," he said Friday. "So very optimistic that we are going to be able to land the plane. It's the end of April here in this building and sometimes pressure has to mount a little bit.”

When asked Friday if he will keep vetoing bills now that things are moving, Governor Stitt was speechless and ended up saying he wasn’t sure and to stay tuned.

He did say there were some adjustments the senate made to the school choice bill cap that he wasn’t pleased about but there are some other adjustments he did like. As for the cap, he basically said they would revisit that down the line.

Some of the vetoed bills include:

  • SB 395 which would provide refund donation checkoff for recovering Oklahomans after disaster and creating a revolving fund.
  • SB 840 modifying provisions for the student athlete name, image and likeness rights act.
  • SB 711 which would require department of mental health and substance abuse services to provide emergency opioid antagonists like Narcan and education as well as requiring department of corrections and county jails to provide emergency opioid antagonists to certain persons subject to certain condition.

Again this is all in an effort to get the senate to pass the governor’s education plan which includes:

  • Pay raises for teachers between $2,000 and $5,000.
  • Allotting $200 million to fund Oklahoma parental choice tax credits prioritizing families who make less than $250,000.
  • Distributes $300 million to all schools with a maximum of $2 million per district.

Click here to read about his plan.

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