Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Stitt vetoes three bills

As the legislative session approaches its final month, measures that passed both chambers are being sent to the Governor for final action. Yesterday, Governor Kevin Stitt signed 28 Senate bills and 16 House bills and vetoed two Senate bills and one House bill.

So far in the 2019 session, Stitt has received 152 Senate Bills, signed 120 of them into law, and vetoed 2 more. He has been sent 125 House Bills, signed 110 of them, and also vetoed 2 bills.

Here are his reasonings for yesterdays vetoes:
Senate Bill 44 would define the term "instructional expenditure" to mean expenditures for instruction and instructional staff support services, including those that directly relate to providing instruction and for activities that assist with classroom instruction. The definition proposed does not align our state with the federal definition of instructional expenditure, which will not allow Oklahoma to measure our instructional expenditures across state lines.

For the aforementioned reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill 44.

Senate Bill 566 would allow private commercial hunting guides to operate on lands managed or owned by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (the “Department”). The Oklahoma Constitution limits the use of Department fees, monies, or funds to the “control, management, restoration, conservation, and regulation of the bird, fish, and game and wildlife resources of the State... and for the administration of the laws pertaining thereto and for no other purpose.” (Okla. Const., Art. 26, § 4). The use of Department lands, paid for with fees, monies, or funds, for the monetary gain of private companies is not permitted pursuant to the Oklahoma Constitution. This prohibition is recognized in the Department's administrative rules, which include a general prohibition on the operation of private or non Departmental business on any Department managed lands.

In addition, significant portions of Department managed lands are not Department owned and are subject to specific terms of the applicable agreements between the Department and the land owners. Senate Bill 566's mandate to allow private commercial hunting guides to operate on Department lands may force the Department to violate these agreements, which could result in the elimination of an unknown amount of acreage currently available to Oklahomans.

For the aforementioned reasons, I have vetoed Senate Bill 566.

House Bill 1968 would insert state government into contract disputes between firefighter and police officer unions (“unions”) and municipalities. These disputes are best resolved through arbitration, as currently provided in statute. The insertion of state government in these disputes is improper and not in the best interest of Oklahomans. 
For the aforementioned reasons, I have vetoed House Bill 1968.
On a related note, Governor Stitt and his staff have done a superb job at keeping the press abreast of his activities. As a blogger, I am sent or subscribed to a lot of press releases from various elected officials or government departments. Governor Stitt's office sends out the Governor's public schedule on every Monday, with updates throughout the week if his calendar changes and new events are added or modified. Additionally, any action he takes on legislation is sent out to the press list as well, noting what legislation was signed (with links to each bill) or vetoed, with his veto messages included.

This is a dramatic change from Governor Fallin's administration. Kudos to Governor Stitt and his staff for being dedicated to transparency and responsiveness.

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