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Politics and Government

House Panel Approves New Version Of Capitol Repair Bond Issue

Meghan Blessing
Barricades outside the south steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The House General Conference Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday heard and signed out a new version of the $120 million bond issue to finance Capitol repairs.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) said the second conference committee report for HJR1033 removes language that required the authority of the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee created in the resolution to oversee the disbursement of funds from the bond issue.

“It’s not constitutional for them to do that,” Hickman said.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that legislative participation in executive branch spending decisions over-extended the Legislature’s authority in the making of appropriations. That case centered on the role of the Contingency Review Board, which was made up of the governor, House speaker and Senate president pro tempore, in deciding how money in the Opportunity Fund, a business recruitment tool, was spent.

According to the court, “(T)he Legislature cannot participate, either directly or through administrative boards having legislators as members, in the administration of funds appropriated by enacted legislation. The (Contingency Review Board's) participation in the approval process constitutes a legislative usurpation of the powers assigned to the executive branch.”


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