Oklahoma GOP Lawmakers Say They're Being Retaliated Against
OKLAHOMA CITY - Some Republican state senators in Oklahoma accuse party leaders of exacting revenge on them, all for voting against a teacher pay bill that they say was destined to fail in the House of Representatives.
That bill would have provided a 12.7-percent pay raise for teachers, or about $5,000 per year. However, it failed by two votes.
The Republicans who voted against it say fellow Republicans have refused to allow votes on any of their other bills because of their unwillingness to support the proposed teacher pay bill -- and they're speaking out.
"I think it's very petty. I've only been up here four years, but it's kind of the first time I've seen it that bad. It really upset a lot of the members," said Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow.
"I was elected to represent my constituents. Every single person up here is elected to represent their constituents, and I don't feel that their voice should be silenced," said Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.
However, they say their voices have been silenced. Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Ada, who also voted against the measure, said the behavior of Republican leaders has cheapened liberty.
"Attempts to control other legislators by a retaliation for their votes or positions taken should never be tolerated. It cheapens liberty, and the voice of every Oklahoman. And we are better than that," Brecheen said.
Senate leadership said this isn't a case of revenge.
"Their bills were not going to pass had they not been transferred. The ones that were transferred didn't have the votes to pass," said Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
Treat is the Majority Floor Leader for the Oklahoma State Senate. The senate bill for teacher raises that previously failed can be resurrected.