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AM NewsBrief: May 30, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Pave Way for Business Courts Amid Budget Negotiation

Oklahoma lawmakers are opening the door for a new business court system in the state by 2026. The measure they’ve advanced is one of four concessions lawmakers made to ensure Gov. Kevin Stitt won’t veto their budget proposal.

Senate Bill 473 establishes two business courts in the state by 2026. One will be in the Oklahoma County District, the other in Tulsa County District.

The bill also creates an 11-member task force to figure out what the business courts will look like.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat is carrying the measure through his chamber.

"When you have contractual disputes, many states have found wisdom in creating these types of courts, as you know, and everyone knows, this came out of negotiations on the budget. And this was one of the governor's requests that we advance this," said Treat.

Stitt asked for a business court system on the last day of this year’s public budget summit in exchange for not vetoing a joint budget resolution.

The measure passed the Senate and House along party lines Wednesday and moves on to the Governor's desk.

Lawmakers Override Governor's Veto to Boost Police Retirement Benefits

Oklahoma lawmakers Wednesday voted to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto of a measure that aims to increase the retirement benefits for police officers.

After Stitt vetoed Senate Bill 102, Oklahoma’s Fraternal Order of Police and Attorney General Gentner Drummond urged lawmakers to reverse the decision due to declining police applications.

The House and Senate override Stitt’s veto and passed the measure into law. It goes into effect Nov. 1.

Oklahoma County Commissioners Approve Nonprofit to Manage Court Services at County Jail

The Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners has approved a nonprofit to take over court services at the county jail.

Commissioners Wednesday approved The Education and Employment Ministry, or TEEM, to take over court services.

The nonprofit looks to improve efficiency in pre-trial release processes and potentially save the county money.

TEEM will provide quarterly reports on participants within the program.

Next steps include the county finalizing the contract and deciding on the future of current court services employees.

State-Tribal Task Force Issues Recommendations for Public Safety Post-McGirt Ruling

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s state-tribal relations task force has several recommendations on public safety following the McGirt ruling.

Stitt created the One Oklahoma Task Force in 2023 to address jurisdictional questions after the McGirt ruling, which affirmed tribal sovereignty.

Tribal nations criticized the governor for only reserving two out of 13 spots for their representatives. Despite never filling those two spots, the task force published the report yesterday.

Tricia Everest is the task force's chairperson. She says tribes and the state must cooperate.

“This report is an acknowledgment that, one, we need to work together. Two that we need to have a uniform way of recognizing how we handle public safety," said Everest.

The report suggests adding to existing deputation agreements and addressing issues with jails, funding and sharing criminal justice information.

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