Oklahoma Legislative Session Ends Early

Friday, May 23rd 2014, 7:53 pm
By: News 9

The current legislative session is now over. By law the session could have lasted until next Friday, but legislators wanted to get done early, creating a frenzy in the chambers with last second votes.

A crumbling capitol and tax incentives for the oil industry were two top issues facing legislators in the final 48 hours of session. A 10-year, $120 million bond to fix every crack and leak in the 100-year-old Capitol building passed the house and senate and is now on the Governor's desk.

The oil and gas tax cuts also await the Governor's signature. This bill gives wells a 2% production tax for the first three years and then 7% years after. But the issue that took an unexpected turn was the bill on school storm shelters.

"Now that you've had some pressure from the second floor you're being told to flip you're vote, be a flip flopper."

At 3:30 pm the bill that is backed by Gov. Fallin and would allow school districts a onetime bond increase to fund storm shelters failed in the house by 64% voting ‘No'. Then, five hours later, the bill was brought back for reconsideration after what some felt was influence from the Governor.

"You can stand by your vote, or you can go with the second floor and do what she told you to do."

"The people in the state of Oklahoma deserve better."

"The problem is we're sending the wrong symbolic message. What we're saying is we don't care."

Those were all comments that all rang out inside the House Chamber. The bill was brought to a vote this time it passed with 56%. Rep. David Dank of Oklahoma City was one of the 17 members who changed their vote.

"I don't vote how people think, I vote for what I think is right," said Dank.

That bill for the shelters was eventually killed in the senate as session ended. The author of the bill, Rep. John Echols' only response was, "Sad."

Common Core was also a major issue that was addressed Friday afternoon. Both the house and senate have voted to repeal common core. Now the bill awaits the Governor's signature.