Governor and tribes reach compact agreements

Collaborator: Rachael Schuit
Published: 01/27/2024, 7:48 PM
Edited: 05/18/2024, 5:02 PM

(CHICKASAW NATION) Tribal compacts were finalized between Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and the Chickasaw Nation and Apache Tribe this month. 

The agreements follow years of strained relations between the Stitt’s administration and tribal governments, including the Five Civilized Tribes recently declining to participate in the “One Oklahoma Task Force”. 

10-year tobacco compacts between both tribes and the state were established as well as a 10-year car tag compact between the state and Chickasaw Nation. 

Stitt’s office said the jurisdictional definition for the tobacco compacts will only include tribal lands that are held in trust and restricted allotments. 

Under the tobacco compacts, the State of Oklahoma will receive 50 percent of the compact payment on tobacco and cigarette products sold in shops on tribal land and the tribes will receive the other 50 percent. 

“We built on areas of agreement without waiving or limiting the rights of either party or requiring either party to yield on matters where there may still be legal dispute,” Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said. “We appreciate the Oklahoma Legislature providing us additional time to work on these agreements.”

Related Story: Senate overrides Governor Stitt’s vetoes on tribal compacts | Verified News Network

Under the tribal tag agreement with Chickasaw Nation, the State of Oklahoma will print Chickasaw license plates and collect driver information for each tag. 

The Oklahoma Transit Authority will also have access to driver information for the purposes of collecting tolls on turnpikes. 

“For the safety of all law enforcement, and for tag compacts to be workable, the state must have uninhibited, up-to-date access to driver registration information, and this agreement ensures that,” Stitt said. 

Lawmakers and other state officials were also pleased the new compacts were able to be agreed upon.

“These agreements with the tribes bring in millions of dollars to the state annually and go toward essential services that benefit all Oklahomans,” Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) said. “This is a step in the right direction and something I hope we can build on moving forward while fostering positive relationships with our tribal partners.”

“I have been critical of the Governor on his past dealings with the tribal nations of Oklahoma, but his recent negotiations with the Chickasaw Nation and Apache Tribe to secure sound tobacco compacts and renewal of a successful license tag compact merits praise," Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said. "I commend his efforts with Gov. Bill Anoatubby and Chairman Durell Cooper, who likewise deserve recognition for their exemplary leadership.” 

Click here and here to access the full compact language. 


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