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Budget-Only Oklahoma Legislative Sessions Gains Steam, Would Need A Vote Of The People

The Oklahoma Senate
Becky McCray
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Support is growing among Republican leaders to have every other legislative session dedicated exclusively to writing the budget.

With as many as 3,000 bills filed every year, rank-and-file legislators complain they have little time to dedicate to working out Oklahoma's annual spending plan.

A proposal last year to send the issue to voters passed the House with bipartisan support, but was derailed in the Senate.

But Republican Gov. Mary Fallin endorsed the plan during her campaign for governor, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said this week he's open to the idea.

Last December, Governor Fallin said, “We need to look at making fundamental changes in our budgeting process, even how the Legislature runs its legislative session. In other words, I think we need to focus more on the budget and revenue streams and even possibly look at doing budgeting every year but maybe doing substantive legislation session every other year.”

Some Democrats complain the plan could further shut out the minority party.

Because the duties of the Legislature would be changed, the proposal would require a vote of the people to amend the Oklahoma Constitution.

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