Senate Leader Supports Special Session

Jul 18, 2013

Governor Mary Fallin says she's discussing a possible special session to resurrect a lawsuit reform bill that was struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the leader of the Senate says he supports the plan.

Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman listens as Sen. Clark Jolley debates a bill during the final days of the 2013 regular legislative session.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said Wednesday he supports the idea of a one-week special session "the sooner the better." House Speaker T.W. Shannon said through a spokesman that he would defer to the governor.

Fallin and Bingman both cited concern in the business community over the June ruling by the state's highest court that the sweeping overhaul of the state's civil justice system was unconstitutional because it addressed multiple subjects.

Bingman said he wants to focus only on the so-called "tort reform" law, while Fallin said addressing other issues is a possibility.

Ecapitol's Shawn Ashley reports access to health care could be one of the other issues finding its way into a special legislative session.

The chairs of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Health and Social Services each urged a special session to protect health care access for some Oklahomans.

Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Doug Cox say the pending loss of insurance coverage for the 30-thousand participants in Insure Oklahoma should be addressed in a special session.

In May, the federal government told Oklahoma officials federal funding for Insure Oklahoma would end at the end of year unless changes were made to the program as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. But Governor Fallin has indicated inclusion of an expansion of the Insure Oklahoma health insurance program in a special session is remote.