Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Fourth Reading: Special Session Not Needed

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Fourth Reading: Special Session Not Needed

Article excerpt

At 12:33 p.m. on Friday, May 24, the Oklahoma Senate adjourned sine die for the year.

Seven hours and 10 minutes later, the House of Representatives concluded its work for the year. Prior to their early adjournment, the Republican leaders of both houses made sure to remind taxpayers that by adjourning a week early they were saving the taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars.

Keep in mind, all this occurred just days after the May 20 tornado and after lawmakers had been publicly warned - on numerous occasions - that their mammoth tax cut/restore the Capitol bill was constitutionally infirm.

Neither the warnings nor the tornado seemed to matter.

Instead, the Legislature's Republican leadership grabbed about $40 million out of the rainy day fund to pay for storm cleanup, ignored other proposals to better prepare the state for future disasters, thumbed their noses at concerns about their tax cut legislation and that Friday, they all went home.

Fast-forward to July 17.

After the Oklahoma Supreme Court had the temerity to disagree with the attempts to put locks on the courthouse door and after Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent filed a lawsuit that questioned the way the 2012 tax cut/Capitol repair bill was written, lawmakers said they kinda-maybe-sorta needed to call a special session to go back to the Capitol and do the work they should have finished in May.

And those thousands and thousands of dollars in savings that were supposed to be generated by early adjournment? Forget that, because that money will be spent to fund a special session.

So we've come full circle. Which is understandable, because this is the Oklahoma Legislature - a body that is not known for its foresight. In fact, the odds are 10-to-1 that big issues such as Medicaid expansion and the Insure Oklahoma program wouldn't even be considered should a special session occur. …

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