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Oklahoma's special session lasted less than 10 minutes; no vote held on Stitt's regents nomination

Senate Pro Temp Greg Treat explains his chamber will thoroughly vet the governor’s nominees for the Board of Regents for Agricultural and Mechanical Schools during a press conference on the first day of this legislative cycle’s fourth special session, June 12, in the senate lounge at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Lionel Ramos
/
KOSU
Senate Pro Temp Greg Treat explains his chamber will thoroughly vet the governor’s nominees for the Board of Regents for Agricultural and Mechanical Schools during a press conference on the first day of this legislative cycle’s fourth special session, June 12, in the senate lounge at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat says the Senate won’t take shortcuts in vetting the governor’s nominee for the Board of Regents for Agricultural and Mechanical colleges, and there are questions about the nominee’s qualifications for the role.

Gov. Kevin Stitt summoned the state Senate back to the Capitol for a special session to confirm his latest nominee for Oklahoma’s rural college board of regents. But Senators ended their time together in under seven minutes and without taking a vote.

Treat told reporters there are questions about whether Stitt’s nominee, longtime Oklahoma State University golf coach and athletic department director Mike Holder, is qualified for the position.

“There's some pretty specific statutory language dealing with the Oklahoma agricultural mechanical colleges about employment — income derived there,” Treat said. “And then there's a requirement for a majority of the board members to derive a majority of their income from agriculture.”

Treat said if Stitt thought the Senate would “rubber stamp” his nomination in one day, he was wrong. Senators will abide by the state constitution and consider Holder, Treat said, but on their time — not the governor’s.

Treat stopped short of saying just how much time that would be.

“I’m not aware why we’re in this sense of urgency,” he said. “I've got my suspicions that it may have to do with bills still being on the governor's desk until Friday, and then some angst on the board about leadership at OSU. But those are all conjectures on my part.”

Abegail Cave, a spokesperson for the governor, said in a written message that there is no need to speculate, only a need to fill the empty board seat.

“There is no hidden agenda behind the governor’s call for special session,” Cave said. “There is simply a need to fill this expired spot on the OSU board. The board is in need of fresh perspective, and it is the Governor’s lawful prerogative to appoint someone new.”

She also pushed back on Treat’s narrative that Stitt doesn’t understand the Senate’s confirmation procedures.

“The Governor never said a vote needed to take place on Wednesday,” she said. “He called for the special session to start on Wednesday and anticipated that the Senate would carry out their process in a timely manner.”

Stitt has added his signature to 869 pieces of legislation so far this session, according to Legiscan, a legislative tracking website. He still has 84 left to either sign or allow to fail without his signature — a move otherwise known as pocket veto.

Treat said many of the bills remaining are joint budget proposals that Stitt promised he would not veto, pocket or otherwise.

“If he doesn't sign by Friday at midnight they become pocket vetoed, and that would, in my mind, be him going back on his word that he made very publicly,” Treat said.

By about 6 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Stitt signed the fiscal year 2025 state budget, authorizing $12.47 billion in general appropriations.

Copyright 2024 KOSU

Lionel Ramos