Big-ticket items remain for Oklahoma Legislature
By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Republican leaders reached an agreement on how to divvy up the $7 billion state budget, but plenty of work remains as the Legislature races toward a planned early adjournment on Friday.
The House and Senate still must pass the budget bill through both chambers, and there are several other big-ticket items they plan to cram into the final hectic week of session, including a $120 million bond issue to repair the Capitol, an overhaul of the pension system for state workers, and adjusting a tax incentive for oil and gas drilling.
Although lawmakers have until May 30 to finish their work, House and Senate leaders said last week after striking a budget agreement that they intend to adjourn before Memorial Day.
Gov. Mary Fallin, meanwhile, is still pushing legislators to let school districts have a one-time property tax increase to fund school shelters and pass a bill to enhance a prescription drug monitoring program. Both of those measures have stalled in the Legislature.
“I would see we’re approaching the end of the session with measured optimism,” said Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz. “It’s great that we got this budget agreement, and our hope is that these other things will fall in place now that we’ve got that in place.”