Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has defended his decision to veto a bill that would have funded the state’s PBS affiliate for three additional years as he questioned the values the network pushes on children.
Earlier this month, Stitt said he was “glad” to veto HB 2820, which would have funded Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) through 2026.
The state’s PBS affiliate has been on the air since 1956 but now faces closing.
KOCO-TV reported the governor expressed his displeasure with PBS’ programming when he vetoed the bill.
“If you want to watch that, that’s fine, but why am I using taxpayer dollars to prop that up?” he said at the time.
Stitt added, “I don’t think we need that, and I’m glad to veto that bill.”
Representatives for the network have said OETA relies on state funding to operate and faces closure.
The Republican-majority state House has not indicated whether it will make an attempt to override the veto.
“OETA, to us, is an outdated system,” he said. “You know, the big, big question is why are we spending taxpayer dollars to prop up or compete with the private sector and run television stations?”
Stitt also referred people to some of the programming children who watch his state’s PBS affiliate might see.
For example, PBS aired a segment in 2021 from a drag queen named Lil Miss Hot Mess that it claimed was “relevant to education.”
While speaking to Fox News, Stitt criticized such programming.
“And then when you go through all of the programming that’s happening and the indoctrination and over-sexualization of our children, it’s just really problematic, and it doesn’t line up with Oklahoma values,” the governor said.
“When you think about educating kids, let’s teach them to read and their numbers and counting and letters and those kind of things,” Stitt added. “I mean, some of the programming that we’re seeing… it just doesn’t need to be on public television.”
The governor concluded taxpayers count on him to spend their money wisely.
“Oklahoma taxpayers are going, ‘Hey, hang on, time out for just a second. That’s not my values,’” he said.
Stitt concluded, ”I’m just tired of using taxpayer dollars for some person’s agenda. I represent the taxpayers.”
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