Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter and tribal leaders “collaborating after the ‘McGirt v. Oklahoma’ decision today” [Thursday, July 16] “released an agreement in principle for proposed federal legislation that will clarify respective state and tribal jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters.”
The attorney general’s office had not, as of noon, answered questions from this reporter, including questions first raised last week after the U.S. Supreme Court issued what many consider the most significant and impactful High Court ruling in Oklahoma history.
On Thursday, July 16, Concerning “the progress being made,” Hunter’s office said:
“ ‘Although there are many more details to be ironed out in the near future, we believe this agreement regarding civil and criminal jurisdiction is the best path forward for protecting the public and promoting continued economic growth in Oklahoma. … My commitment to our tribal partners is to work together to forge common ground on the issues brought to light by this case. Oklahoma’s tribal nations are a fundamental part of Oklahoma’s culture, economy, politics and governance. The relationship between the tribes and my office is based on trust and mutual respect. And that synergism has been essential to the successful formation of this important agreement.”
“ ‘In addition to today’s announcement, the state and the tribes are continuing to collaborate on the immediate provision of public safety on-the-ground, including law enforcement and child welfare matters.’”
After today’s press release was received, and after receipt of the July 9 press release announcing the attorney general was working with the five major tribes concerning the ‘McGirt v. Oklahoma’ decision, this reporter submitted questions to the attorney general’s staff. Reworded to reflect the passage of a week without answers to the original questions, these are questions posed or re-posed today (italicized):
Thank you the press release and the ‘agreement in principle’ received via email shortly after 11 a.m. this morning.
I have two new questions, and a couple of previous questions that remain unanswered (unless the message went astray).
The previous questions are reworded to reflect the passage of one week on the calendar:
Was the governor of Oklahoma consulted or informed beforehand concerning today’s press release?
Was the governor of Oklahoma consulted or informed beforehand concerning the ‘agreement in principle’ referenced in the press release?
Were any of the smaller tribal nations consulted or informed before issuance of this morning’s press release or the referenced ‘agreement in principle’?
My two previous questions from July 9, reworded:
I am curious as to whether or not any of the smaller tribal nations were consulted before issuance of this morning’s press release [or the first release on July 9]?
In the July 9 press release, did the reference to “The State of Oklahoma” include the governor of the state of Oklahoma?
Thank you for prompt attention to my new questions, and the questions posed one week ago.
The agreement in principle can be viewed here.