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PM NewsBrief: July 31, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, July 31, 2023.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Overturn Veto Of Tribal-State Tobacco Compacts

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vetoes of a pair of compacts with tribal nations in Oklahoma will not stand.

Stitt opposed compact extensions put together by state lawmakers without his approval.

So when they passed laws in May extending compacts for tobacco and motor vehicle taxes, he vetoed them.

The compacts are agreements on siphoning some tax collections by tribal nations to the state.

The House formally overrode Stitt’s final veto Monday morning of tobacco compacts.

Lawmakers say their deal to extend the tobacco compacts alone is worth more than $50 million dollars to the state.

House Floor Leader Jon Echols panned Stitt for not doing enough to work with tribal nations and that the legislature had to step in.

“I am disappointed that we’ve gotten into this place. I’m disappointed this is what I'm spending my day doing. I'm disappointed that we've gotten so into petty politics,” Echols said.

The compacts are identical to what was previously agreed upon by the state and tribes.

They will run through the end of 2024.

The legislature’s actions drew praise from tribal leaders – many of whom were seated in the house gallery during the vote.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton said in a written statement he appreciates the legislature’s work and their QUOTE “endurance in correcting Governor Stitt’s errors.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt Deploys OK National Guard To U.S. Mexico Border

Oklahoma is sending 50 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gov. Kevin Stitt ordered the deployment to support Operation Lone Star in Texas.

After a weekend farewell ceremony, 50 Oklahoma National Guard members will be deployed to El Paso.

There, they will assist the Texas National Guard with border control.

LeeAnn Tumblson is a spokesperson for the Oklahoma National Guard. She says this mission is a “force multiplier,” putting more people and eyes on the border.

"They will be manning security points and helping to identify and alert the local law enforcement of any illegal immigrant or drug trafficking activities," said Tumblson.

Stitt announced the Oklahoma National Guard’s deployment to Texas earlier this summer. That came after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote state leaders asking them to send troops to the border to support his aggressive immigration initiative, Operation Lone Star.

Oklahoma Democratic Lawmakers have called the deployment a political stunt.

National Guard members will work in El Paso for about 30 days.

Lesser Prairie Chicken Delisting

Congress has approved a measure to undo federal protections for the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

The legislative action received mostly Republican support and represents rare congressional involvement in matters usually left to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The grouse can be found across western Oklahoma, and has been declining over the years.

Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas was among those who spoke in support of the issue on the House floor.

“This listing creates unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on Oklahoma agriculture and oil and gas industries, and limits our ability as a country to provide for ourselves and the world. This resolution ensures that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulations do not infringe on the property owners who live and work their land every day,” Lucas said.

The bird has been on and off various lists for more than a decade.

According to biologists, the species has been reduced by as much as 85%.

Get Ready For Schools At OKCPS Event Saturday

Oklahoma City Public Schools is hosting a second back-to-school bash this Saturday.

It'll be held at Frederick Douglass High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is for families to collect resources including school supplies and vaccinations--all at no charge--to prepare students for the new school year.

Thousands of families participated in the district's first bash over this past weekend.


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