Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate voted Thursday to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto that would have eliminated state funding for the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority.
The bill passed in the House by a 73-23 vote and in the Senate by a 38-6 vote reauthorizes OETA as a state entity, cancelling a veto Stitt signed in April. Reports say cheers broke out in the House when members voted to approve the bill that reauthorizes OETA for at least three more years.
When Stitt vetoed House Bill 2820 on April 26, he questioned OETA’s value to Oklahoma. In later comments, he said Oklahoma’s only public education television network overly sexualizes children and attempts to indoctrinate them, citing news programs that discussed transgender issues and programs that acknowledge LBGTQ people. The bill was among 20 bill that Stitt vetoed that day.
Without the override, OETA’s authorization would have expired July 1, effectively ending that public broadcasting entity. While the network also solicits private donations, supporters said in April that the loss of state funds — used to cover operational expenses — likely would end or severely curtail operations.
OETA, founded in 1956, is a state network of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television stations serving Oklahoma.