Communications & Public Affairs
May 13, 2020

Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405) 962-7674

Democrats Strengthen Veto Majority in Support of Public Education

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement announcing that members of the House Democratic Caucus would join legislative Republicans to override Governor Stitt’s veto of House Bill 2741, House Bill 2742 and House Bill 2743.

“This legislative body, led by Republican majorities in both chambers, spent a large portion of last year’s legislative session giving the governor more power. Conversely, Republican leadership has spent this session trying to protect the legislature from an overzealous executive branch instead of taking back those increased powers.

“Last week, our caucus was asked to vote on a budget that borrowed money from Oklahoma retirees to pay the bills of the state. We said ‘no.’ Now, the vote in front of us is to support that budget, which we voted against, or uphold the governor’s veto and cut more than a hundred million dollars to public education.

“In the name of public education, members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus will vote to override Governor Stitt’s veto.

“We are doing this while the governor sits on $800 million in federal stimulus money. Now, Governor Stitt is quick to point out that the money can’t be used on anything but things that have been impacted by COVID-19. However, after looking at our state revenue figures, looking at stores shuddered across the state, Oklahoma’s workforce reeling from unemployment and furloughs, we wonder ‘what exactly hasn’t been affected by COVID-19?’

“Moving forward, I hope Oklahomans remember who pulled the easy lever of taking money from retirees and who made the hard decision to fight against it. I hope Oklahomans will remember that their governor gambled with more than $100 million of public education funding and who made the hard decision to fight against it.

“Oklahoma Democrats have been vocal for years about the need to diversify state revenue streams, and we will continue to call for stable, recurring revenue that can support public education and other core services without relying on one-time funds and taking money from pension systems.”