Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Education Bill Gridlock in State Senate Goes On

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Education Bill Gridlock in State Senate Goes On

Article excerpt

Oklahoma Senate leaders remained in a bipartisan gridlock Wednesday on an education bill Gov. Henry Bellmon says should receive support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Cullison, D-Skiatook, and Senate Minority Leader Jerry Pierce, R-Bartlesville, reached no firm agreements during a two-hour meeting that included other Senate leaders.

Cullison said he called the meeting to find out what could be done to win support from Republicans for the education bill.

Neither side reported significant movement, but expressed optimism that continued talks today and through the weekend could produce results.

``There's movement every time we meet,'' Cullison said. ``Nothing is written in concrete.''

``It's too soon to say what will happen but I feel encouraged because of the meeting,'' Pierce said.

On Tuesday, Pierce said a caucus of Republican senators had produced ``basic unanimity'' that the bill needed drastic revision.

Among other things, Republicans are pushing for a tougher consolidation feature, elimination of teacher tenure, an open transfer provision and tax credits for parents who donate money to schools.

Republicans meeting with Democrats, in addition to Pierce, were Sens. Charles Ford of Tulsa and Gary Gardenhire of Norman. In addition to Cullison, Democrats in the meeting were Sens. Stratton Taylor of Claremore and Herbert Rozell of Tahlequah.

``If all 15 Republicans vote no on education reform, it would lock it up,'' Cullison said.

Bellmon, a Republican, has said some Republican senators will vote for the bill, but thus far no Republicans have announced publicly that they support the measure. …

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