Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (pictured) has reportedly announced that he will not be appealing a federal court ruling that his state’s tribal gaming compacts had automatically renewed at the end of last year and are to now remain valid until the conclusion of 2035.
According to a Friday report from the Associated Press news service published by US News and World Report, the 47-year-old Republican came out on the wrong end of the federal lawsuit brought by the casino-operating Chickasaw Nation, Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation in the summer before being hit by a United States Supreme Court decision that officially designated almost half of his state as tribal land.
Stitt reportedly declared that this subsequent five-to-four ruling in the case of McGirt v Oklahoma means that his state is now facing ‘unprecedented uncertainty’ and should be working towards finding solutions ‘that respect the unique relationship between the state of Oklahoma and its tribal citizens’ while providing ‘certainty and fairness’ for every one of its over 3.9 million residents.
Reportedly read a statement from Stitt…
“Therefore, it is essential for state and tribal leaders to join together to resolve the challenges this ruling presents for Oklahomans and their businesses.”
Stitt reportedly believed that the 15-year gaming compacts his state inked with its 35 casino-operating tribes had expired on December 31 and subsequently went on to sign new agreements with the federally-recognized Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe. However, these deals were later invalidated by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to leave all tribal casinos in ‘The Sooner State’ operating under the same conditions as those laid out in their 2004 contracts.
In related news and the Associated Press moreover reported that a special task force earlier established by Stitt to investigate the impact of the United States Supreme Court ruling issued its findings on Thursday. Although this body did not make any specific recommendations, it did purportedly call for the formation of uniform laws and regulations with regards to tribal enterprises in areas such as zoning, taxation and business regulation.