Tribal compact scrutiny?

The full Senate approved legislation to ensure Oklahomans have a say in tribal compacts with the state.

Sen. Greg Treat is the author of the Senate Bill 1326, which he said will mirror the founding fathers’ instructions for federal tribal compact negotiations.

“This is not a new idea. There are other states that have some kind of legislative approval process,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “Our founding fathers created an executive function of negotiation for dealing with sovereign governments that included a legislative check requiring such agreements to be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. This bill is modeled after the federal process.”

SB 1326 would require that all compacts and cooperative agreements be approved by two-thirds of the Oklahoma Senate before becoming effective. Treat pointed out that tribal compacts do impact the state budget and urged his colleagues to research the financial impact for car tags, tobacco compacts and recent compacts on hunting and fishing.

“Tribal members who have elected officials are well represented in every compact negotiation. Oklahoma citizens are not because the legislature isn’t involved in the process. We have abdicated that responsibility by not requiring legislative ratification,” said Treat. “Oklahoma citizens deserve to have a say in these compacts as they impact the state budget and our citizens’ daily lives. I’ll continue this effort to ensure that our constituents have a voice in this process when it impacts their tax dollars and state services.”

SB 1326 now moves to the House for further consideration.