It’s Official: Fallin Issues Order For Special Session
Governor Mary Fallin has officially ordered a special legislative session to convene on Sept. 25.
In an executive order issued Friday, Fallin recommended five subjects for the session, including finding ways to fill a $215 million hole in the fiscal year 2018 budget. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a cigarette fee last month that was expected to bring in that amount of revenue. The Court ruled the way the legislature passed the $1.50-per-pack fee on cigarettes was unconstitutional.
The governor also recommended that lawmakers increase teacher pay, find long-term solutions to budget shortfalls and increase the efficiency of the state government. According to the order, Fallin also wants lawmakers to pass legislation clarifying that the new 1.25 percent vehicle sales tax does not apply to the trucking industry.
This marks Fallin's 2nd special session. The first in 2013 dealt with tort reform & resulted from an OK Supreme Court decision, too.— Shawn Ashley (@eCapitol_Shawn) September 15, 2017
It will be the 13th special session since 1971, according to the Sec of State's website, when lawmakers considered letting 18 year olds vote— Shawn Ashley (@eCapitol_Shawn) September 15, 2017
In a press release, Fallin said legislators need to act quickly to provide services to citizens and fix structural problems with the state budget.
“For decades, we have attempted to balance our budget for too long with the use of one-time resources. We must develop a budget based on stability, not volatility,” she said.
Members of the state Senate expressed support for finding long-term budget solutions.
“Let’s focus on ideas we’ve vetted – like a cigarette tax increase – that will help us address the immediate shortfall and provide recurring revenue going forward,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz (R-Altus) in a statement.
Senate Democrats also supported finding a long-term budget fix. “We need to set clear priorities, take hard votes and make tough choices with all revenue options on the table,” Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) said in the statement.
The session will need to last at least five days, because the state constitution forbids legislators from passing revenue-related measures in the last five days of session.
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