Oklahoma lawmakers override 13 of Gov. Kevin Stitt's vetoes, including OETA legislation
Big Bird fans can rest easy.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate voted to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto that would have led to the end of Oklahoma’s public television broadcaster, OETA. They also took up 12 other measures the governor had refused to sign into law, passing them without his support.
At the time of his veto, Stitt said that Oklahoma Educational Television Authority’s long-term strategic value was “unclear if not outright imagined.” In multiple media appearances afterward, Stitt said the state shouldn’t be funding a television network and claimed PBS programming "overly sexualizes" kids.
But lawmakers defended the public broadcaster known for airing programs like Sesame Street and NOVA. State law requires the agency to have its board’s authority renewed by the legislature every three years, and lawmakers overwhelmingly voted for that extension — the House voted 73 to 23 for the override and the Senate voted in favor by a vote of 38 to 6.
Stitt used his veto pen to force the Senate to pass his favored education funding plan. Stitt and GOP legislative leaders recently came to an agreement on a funding package, but many unrelated bills were caught in the crossfire in what some lawmakers referred to as a "tantrum."
Stitt’s vetoes included bills that ensure greater access to overdose-reversing drugs, strengthen protections for Indigenous students who want to wear tribal regalia at graduation, and bring Oklahoma in line with other states on Name, Image, Likeness regulations for college sports.
All of those, and more, were overturned. Those measures will now become law despite Stitt’s objections.
Bills that passed both Chambers with veto overrides:
- SB 840: McCortney and Echols - Collegiate athletics; modifying the Student Athlete Name, Image and Likeness Rights Act provisions.
- SB 429 - Montgomery and Caldwell (Trey) Students; allowing students enrolled in certain schools or institutions to wear tribal regalia during graduation ceremonies.
- SB 563 - Haste and McEntire - Medicaid; requiring certain reimbursement of anesthesia.
- SB 623 - Hall and Krebs - Motor vehicles; modifying references to Service Oklahoma.
- SB 712 - Rosino and McEntire - Hospitals; requiring Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to distribute emergency opioid antagonists to hospitals; requiring hospitals to distribute emergency opioid antagonist to certain persons upon discharge except under certain conditions; granting certain immunities.
- SB 775 - Stewart and Cantrell - County commissioners; modifying certain duties of boards of county commissioners relating to continuing education.
- SB 951 - Kidd and Humphrey - Counties and county officers; raising travel allowance for county commissioners and sheriffs. Emergency.
- SB 299 - Thompson (Roger) and Vancuren -Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education; recreating council until certain date; modifying appointment authority.
- HB 2255 - Burns and Haste - License plates; creating various special license plates.
- HB 1843 - Kerbs and McCortney - Pharmacy benefit managers; compliance review; investigative powers; violations, penalties, and hearings; Attorney General.
- HB 2263 - Sterling and Rogers - Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; modifying membership of the Authority; modifying term length; modifying actions regarding removal of appointive members; prohibiting members from participating in certain votes.
- HB 2820 - Kendrix and Bergstrom - Sunset; Oklahoma Educational Television Authority; re-creating authority; modifying termination date. The OETA sunset bill.
- HB 2863 - Wallace and Kidd - Veterinary medicine; Oklahoma State University Veterinary Medicine Authority (OSU VMA); creation; revolving funds; bonds.
Another batch of bills that were vetoed by the governor were also overturned by at least one chamber. However, it’s unclear if lawmakers in the opposite chamber will overturn them. The deadline for all veto overrides is Friday.
- HB 1612 - Worthen and Paxton - Crimes and punishments; adding criminal offense to list of crimes.
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