Relationship Between Legislature's Top Republicans Turns Icy Over Federal Override Bill

Tuesday, April 20th 2021, 6:20 pm


The weather is not the only thing to turning cold in Oklahoma Tuesday.

The relationship between the two top Republicans in the legislature has grown icy, as publicly evident by a disagreement over a bill to push back against federal oversight.

“You do not protect the constitution by willfully violating it,” Senate President Pro Tem. Greg Treat, R-OKC said of a bill by Speaker of the House Charles McCall, R-Atoka.

House Bill 1236, as written and co-authored by nearly every Republican in the House, would have allowed the state legislature to review federal laws or executive orders and deem them unconstitutional.

Treat calls that “a clear violation of the separation of powers.”

“The House stands by the initial bill because it provides a fully constitutional path for the people of Oklahoma to protect all their constitutional rights from federal overreach,” McCall said in a statement.

“This is absolutely an embarrassment. We thought he was going to work and do something with us,” Second Amendment Association President Don Spencer said.

His organization is calling on Treat to be replaced at Senate President Pro Tempore.

Treat's amendment to the bill removes the legislature, instead creating a new office under the Attorney General to protect state's rights against federal overreach.

To fund the office, Treat’s amendment sets aside $10 million for the state’s corporate income tax collections - a revenue source Speaker McCall wants to eliminate.

“The country is on the brink of disaster,” Sen. Warren Hamilton, R McCurtain said during debate. “We can either be a pilot and mitigate this or we can be a passenger and be along for the ride.”

“I appreciate the analogy to a pilot - if this bill crashes today, there is no other vehicle,” Treat said.

Treat’s amendment passed 33 - 14.

The bill now goes back to the House, where the Speaker said it's not likely to be met with much support.