House Responds To Fallin's Pressure With First Override Of Governor's Veto

May 1, 2014

The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to override a veto by Gov. Mary Fallin of a House bill dealing with federal regulations over firearms.

The move is the latest signal of the growing tension between the Republican governor and the GOP-controlled House.

The measure would’ve directed the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to provide required certification for firearms transfer and manufacture. It also would’ve asked the Bureau to explain in writing why it may have denied certification.

A statement from the House says the law that is a key agenda item of the National Rifle Association.

eCapitol’s Christie Southern reports state Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond) moved to override the Fallin’s veto. The governor said the state doesn’t have the power to regulate a federal agency.

[The bill] previously had only received one no vote from House members, after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus and a series of animated discussions on the floor with other members, including Majority Floor Leader Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, and Deputy Majority Floor Leader Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. Asked if there was any other option that could be considered in lieu of an override, Turner said, “There are other avenues but I have always believed good policy needs to be implemented as soon as possible.”

A day earlier, Fallin vetoed 15 House bills she said were unnecessary or didn't have a meaningful public purpose. She accused the House of failing to take action on some of her key agenda items, including a plan to repair the Capitol building and overhaul the pension system for state workers.

Southern reports the motion to override passed on an 86-3 vote.

Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said “games were being played” by the governor’s office in threatening to veto additional House bills…Wednesday’s vote marked the first time any lawmaker has attempted to override any of Fallin’s vetoes. The Senate must also approve an override motion before the bill can become law.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says the decision to override the governor's veto was a "difficult and serious'' one.

Fallin also vetoed two bills Wednesday, saying both bills serve no significant interest to the citizens of Oklahoma. 

House Bill 3176, by state Rep. Gus Blackwell (R-Laverne) and state Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City), amends a permanent classified or regular unclassified employee will be entitled to take leave with pay for no more than 24 hours per year to attend meetings and other job duties.

Fallin said in her veto message that it would increase state employee participation in professional and trade organizations at the tax payers’ expense.

House Bill 3417, by state Rep. Mike Shelton (D-Oklahoma City), and state Sen. Harry Coates (R-Seminole), prohibits a law enforcement agency or law enforcement task force from authorizing or allowing a private non-law-enforcement or nondepartmental entity or person to conduct or actively participate in a roadside traffic stop or arrest for a violation of a state traffic law or municipal traffic ordinance.

Fallin called the measure well-intentioned, but “overly broad in its scope” because it could potentially “restrict interagency cooperation and hinder law enforcement efforts across Oklahoma by not allowing law enforcement agencies to work with any entity outside of their department.”


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