Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Calvey's Next Step May Be Petition to Rewrite Bill

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Calvey's Next Step May Be Petition to Rewrite Bill

Article excerpt

An initiative petition to rewrite State Question 640 so that it "means something" may be the next step for Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Del City, if state courts determine that the constitutional provision does not cover fees or transfers from specific funds for general government purposes.

"I think we're thwarting the will of the people," the freshman legislator said of what he termed the "switcheroos" achieved by both measures.

Emerging from a Friday hearing at which District Judge Nancy Coats denied his motion for a temporary injunction to prevent such transfers under two new legislative measures, Calvey said he is now ready for a trial on the merits of his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 1574 and Senate Bill 165. In particular, he questions the transfer of $4.3 million from the Waste Tire Recycling Indemnity Fund in the House measure, and more than $5 million from several other funds in the Senate bill, into the special cash fund to be used for numerous unrelated government agencies and programs. Calvey believes that both bills violate a 1992 amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution which requires that revenue bills be put to a vote of the people unless they achieve a three-fourths majority in both houses. The two bills reached that level in the Senate, but not in the House. The lawmaker said the most important goal is to obtain a court ruling on the measures one way or the other. "It seems that State Question 640 means nothing," Calvey said of the transfers, which he sees as a way of circumventing the law by changing fees levied for a narrow, specific purpose into funding for general government. Attorneys for the state have challenged Calvey's standing to bring the lawsuit, saying he has not demonstrated any direct, immediate injury from the measures. Senior Assistant Atty. Gen. Neal Leader, representing state finance Director Tom Daxon, raised the standing issue. …

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