House speaker to hold study on tribal compacts

By: - September 7, 2023 5:28 am
Desks in neat lines fill the House legislative chamber.

House Speaker Charles McCall has called for an interim study on tribal compacts this fall. (Photo by Kyle Phillips/For Oklahoma Voice)

Lawmakers plan to probe the state’s compacts with Native American tribes later this year after the House’s top Republican lawmaker called for a deep dive on the issue.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, has said he requested the interim study to better understand the history of the compacts, how they were formed and the importance of those agreements for both tribes and the state.

Although it’s common for legislators to hold interim studies each fall as a way to explore issues on which they might craft legislation, legislative leaders rarely request their own studies.


McCall has said his study will address “some dynamics regarding why they’re structured the way they are now” and include past leaders who helped craft compacts.

The study will also examine compacting authority, which is the subject of ongoing litigation between Gov. Kevin Stitt and lawmakers.

McCall was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for additional comment, his spokesman said.

The study, which will be scheduled later this fall, comes as disputes continue over the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling. The ruling, which determined much of eastern Oklahoma remains reservation land, has prompted lawsuits challenging the legality of enforcement of speeding tickets and income tax collections.

Meanwhile, numerous other tribal compacts are also set to expire in less than two years. When Stitt’s negotiations with tribes stalled, lawmakers passed legislation extending some motor vehicle registration and tobacco compacts through Dec. 2024. 

Stitt sued lawmakers, challenging their authority to renew them without gubernatorial approval.


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Mindy Ragan Wood
Mindy Ragan Wood

Mindy covers the legislature for Oklahoma Voice. Her areas of focus include infrastructure, municipal government policies, and human services with an emphasis on the needs of intellectually vulnerable and physically challenged adults.