Lawmakers Pass Several Bills In Second Special Session

Thursday, December 21st 2017, 8:47 am
By: Grant Hermes

Lawmakers are one step closer to a successful second special session.

State senators passed a pair of funding bill Wednesday, shielding some of the state's most vulnerable. 

They approved $17.7 million in funding for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. That was the original focus of this extra special session. 

That money was needed immediately to prevent cuts to medicaid and medicare providers in the state which oversee thousands of Oklahoma seniors.

Senators also passed $26.5 million was for the Department of Human Services to help fund the agency until April.

But there are still problems on the horizon. In a press conference Wednesday, state finance officials couldn't pinpoint just how big next year's budget shortfall would be because lawmakers still haven't filled the more than $100 million gap already in place. 

Gov. Mary Fallin said members of the state Chamber of Commerce have put up their ideas, calling on lawmakers to act quickly to find permanent solutions. 

The House is expected to vote on those revenue bills for the health care authority and DHS by Friday where they would head to the governor's desk.

Lawmakers are expected to return in January after the holidays to find a way to plug that budget hole before regular session starts. That's a tall order because neither party has changed their demands from that first failed special session.