Governor signs Oklahoma Route 66 centennial legislation into law

Oklahoma’s governor recently signed the Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission Act into law.

That piece of news was tucked into a Tulsa World story where Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell again pledged to make the Sooner State a leader in Route 66 tourism, including a convention with stakeholders. The convention will be Dec. 3-4 at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. The history center hasn’t put anything about the event on its website; it’s assumed that will be added later.

The Tulsa newspaper article accidentally linked to the federal Route 66 Centennial Commission Act bill, which has not been passed into law.

Here is the link to the Oklahoma Legislature’s Route 66 centennial bill, signed into law April 30 by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The bill states:

The Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission is established to plan, coordinate and implement programs and special events to celebrate the historic highway’s centennial in 2026 with the support of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The centennial is an opportunity to celebrate the important history of Route 66 in Oklahoma through commemorative, educational and community events, including programs and exhibits about the history of how local communities grew and changed with construction of the highway; the development of a modern transportation system; the cultural impact of Route 66 both within the United States and internationally; the portrayal of Route 66 in music, artwork and folklore; and how we maintain the mystique and appeal of Route 66 for future generations.

The study, preservation and maintenance of Route-66-related resources has been a public/private partnership in Oklahoma for decades. Government agencies, private organizations and individual citizens have played critical roles in these efforts, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission shall seek input from these partners and the general public as it develops plans for the celebration and encourages their participation.

The bill states the centennial commission will be comprised of 21 members who “reflect the interests, history and importance of the communities along Route 66 in Oklahoma.”

Two members will be appointed by the speaker of the Oklahoma House, two by the Oklahoma Senate president and three by the governor.

The rest will be appointed by these officials or their designees:

  • The governor
  • The lieutenant governor
  • Oklahoma Department of Transportation executive director
  • Oklahoma Historical Society executive director
  • Oklahoma Department of Commerce executive director
  • Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department executive director
  • Oklahoma Arts Council executive director
  • Route 66 Alliance president
  • Oklahoma Route 66 Association president
  • Preservation Oklahoma executive director
  • Oklahoma Museums Association executive director
  • Oklahoma Humanities executive director
  • Oklahoma Municipal League director
  • Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce president

The commission will meet quarterly to:

  • Plan and sponsor official Route 66 Centennial events, programs and activities
  • Encourage the development of programs designed to involve citizens in activities that commemorate Route 66 Centennial events
  • Make available to the public information on Route 66 Centennial events throughout the state

The new law takes effect Nov. 1. The commission will dissolve June 30, 2027, about seven months after Route 66’s centennial.

(Image of an Oklahoma Route 66 sign in Chandler, Oklahoma, by scott.tanis via Flickr)

One thought on “Governor signs Oklahoma Route 66 centennial legislation into law

  1. My concern is all the trash and litter along the route that travels through Chandler. I’m wondering how that is going to be addressed.

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