House, Senate Gridlocked On Inflation Relief Procedures

Wednesday, June 15th 2022, 6:11 pm


Lawmakers met this week in a special session to address two main topics: inflation relief, and how to spend millions in COVID relief dollars.  

In the second special session Wednesday, the House voted to pass seven measures that allocate millions in American Rescue Plan money. 

The measures to fund projects like a new Optometry school at Northeastern University, funding for Career Tech to train more nurses, and a project to expand broadband access. 

These measures are now headed to the governor's desk. 

And — happening at the same time this week — the third special session. 

The governor called lawmakers back into this third session to address inflation relief after he vetoed efforts passed by the legislature in regular session. 

Wednesday the House passed seven options to cut personal and grocery sales tax. 

Another measure was passed to reduce Health Care Authority appropriations to offset the cost of the cut.  

But the Senate may not take up the measures.  

Appropriations Chair Sen. Roger Thompson said the Senate is not planning to move quickly to pass any inflation relief.  

“Not just throwing something at the wall and seeing what sticks, but what's really good for the state of Oklahoma,” said Sen. Roger Thompson (R-Okmulgee).  

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat is organizing a committee to look at how relief measures might impact the state in the long term. 

This as house leadership expresses concerns about rising inflation hours after the federal reserve announced its largest interest rate since 1994.  

The House adjourned Sine Die Wednesday on their third session, saying they’ve met the call of the governor.  

Now it's up to the Senate whether or not Oklahomans will experience any immediate inflation relief.  

At the Capitol late Wednesday afternoon, Senator Pro Tem Greg Treat said the income and grocery tax cuts approved by the House cannot now be heard by the Senate. 

This is because the House adjourned their third session Wednesday, Sine Die. 

But House leaders said this is an inaccurate interpretation of procedure. Their clerk’s desk is still open to receive the bills if the Senate signs them. 

Governor Kevin Stitt sent out a statement in support of the inflation relief measures passed by the House. 

We’ll have more information about the gridlock as it becomes available.