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Oklahoma measure transferring American Indian center advances

An Oklahoma Senate committee passed a bill Monday that would abolish the agency overseeing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, and place the center under the Oklahoma Historical Society.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: February 19, 2013

Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said he voted against the bill because the state could stand to lose $40 million in private pledges to help complete the center if it is placed under a different agency.

A bill authorizing a $40 million bond issue for the center failed by one vote last year in the Senate.

Treat said he is concerned by the findings of a state audit last year that criticized the authority for choosing highest-cost options when funding wasn't secure. Treat filed a bill last year to put the center under the state Tourism and Recreation Department; it passed the Senate but failed in the House of Representatives.

The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum project has benefited from three previous state bond issues totaling $63 million, as well as $14.5 million in federal funding and $4.9 million and 250 acres of land from Oklahoma City.