Legislative agendas are rolling out

Friday, January 25th 2008, 7:59 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

A little more than a week before the start of the Legislative session and some of the battle lines are already being drawn.

Lawmakers are rolling out there agendas for the session; Friday was the House Democrats turn.

Making state government more efficient, continuing the effort to rebuild the state's roads and bridges, and improving education through reforms and better teacher pay are among the priorities already mentioned by House and Senate leadership. House Democrats also want to add ethics reform to the list.

The minority House Democrats told members of the media their top priority for the coming session is tightening the state's campaign finance laws. They specifically want to prohibit lawmakers from accepting contributions from lobbyists from two weeks prior to the start of session until two weeks after session concludes.

"We'd just like to see that the money coming out of this building and any question of impropriety be done away with, and it just says you can't accept monies during these time frames," said Minority Leader Rep. Danny Morgan.

Democrats expect an uphill battle, but Republican leaders said if the Democrats hadn't noticed, they've been advancing strong ethics measures since taking control of the House three years ago, and said they'll continue to do so this session.

"I find it ironic that in the entire hundred years they were the majority in Oklahoma, they never saw fit to enact any of these reforms, and I will assure you that all of these things are on the table," said Majority Floor Leader Rep. Greg Piatt.

The Democratic caucus's other priorities are increasing teacher pay, increasing student performance, and decreasing health care costs.

The state legislature officially convenes Monday, February 4, the same day the Governor will deliver his state of the state address.