Oklahoma Senate Ends Early, Avoids Override Veto

Friday, May 27th 2016, 5:41 pm
By: Grant Hermes

The state's senators celebrated Friday afternoon after the end of a session filled with controversy.

The chamber adjourned after passing a bill that would borrow $200 million to fund transportation through 2023.

“The majority of Oklahomans do not care about procedure they cate about results,” Sen. Kay Floyd said

The early end also prevented the much talked about veto override of the now infamous anti-abortion bill Governor Mary Fallin struck down last week. The bill, SB1552, would have forced the state to revoke medical licenses from doctors who performed abortions along with opening those doctors up to felony charges.

5/20/16 Related Story: Gov. Mary Fallin Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill

Moving to end session or ‘sine die”, nearly caused the House to force the entire state's budget to fail.

“We're going to stand up for life, We're going to crash this budget and we're going to make you come back for special session,” Rep. John Bennett (R-Sequoya) exclaimed on the house floor during a debate over the state budget.

But the early leave also killed several major policy measures including a bill establishing wage transparency also named the equal pay bill.

Rep. Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City) was so upset he tweeted he'll be asking the governor for an official executive order making the measure law, writing “On behalf of [Oklahoma’s] female population I’m asking [Mrs. Fallin] to use Executive Order and Make HB2929 Equal Pay law.”

For women's groups stopping the override is only a faint silver lining compared to the defeat of equal pay.

“It was shocking. We felt like we had the support in the senate. It had passed overwhelmingly in the senate before so we were actually surprised we didn’t get it heard today,” Kendra Horn said. Horn is the Executive Director of Sally’s List a liberal group aimed at training and recruiting women to run for office in Oklahoma.

Both the anti-abortion bill and the pay transparency bill are expected to be brought up next session.