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Capitol Insider

Fridays at 4:45 p.m. and Mondays at 7:45 a.m.
  • Hosted by Dick Pryor

A weekly feature produced by KGOU in partnership with eCapitol, an Oklahoma City-based legislative news and bill tracking service. Dick Pryor talks with eCapitol's Shawn Ashley, reporters and newsmakers about legislative matters in the state of Oklahoma.

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Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

After the Step Up Oklahoma package of revenue-raising bills failed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Monday, a message on the plan’s website read, “Step Up Oklahoma’s effort has run its course” and that fixing the state’s financial problems is worth continued deliberations.

However, in a press conference following the bill’s defeat, House Speaker Charles McCall said the negotiations were final, saying, "We've made it very clear: This was the final package we would consider."

Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

Oklahoma state lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week and are working to wrap up the second special session, which means voting on revenue-raising measures.

eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports the Senate and House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget approved many of the suggestions proposed by the group Step Up Oklahoma.

 

Storme Jones / KGOU

When Gov. Mary Fallin addressed lawmakers in her first State of the State speech in 2011, she implored them to fix a $600 million hole in the state budget. Seven years later, in her final State of the State address, the legislature is faced with a similar task: filling an estimated $425 million gap in the budget.

 

Storme Jones / KGOU

When Gov. Mary Fallin addressed lawmakers in her first State of the State speech in 2011, she implored them to fix a $600 million hole in the state budget. Seven years later, in her final State of the State address, the legislature is faced with a similar task: filling an estimated $425 million gap in the budget.

Storme Jones / KGOU

As Oklahoma lawmakers prepare for the start of the 2018 legislative session on Feb. 5, they’ll be met with the familiar issues of filling an estimated $425-million budget hole, giving teachers a pay raise, reducing prison overcrowding and maintaining the state’s infrastructure.

Storme Jones / KGOU

As Oklahoma lawmakers prepare for the start of the 2018 legislative session on Feb. 5, they’ll be met with the familiar issues of filling an estimated $425-million budget hole, giving teachers a pay raise, reducing prison overcrowding and maintaining the state’s infrastructure.

Former Republican Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Kris Steele says it’s time for lawmakers to put statesmanship over partisanship.

Storme Jones / KGOU

State Rep. Josh Cockroft says he was surprised at the lack of financial oversight in agencies like the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In an interview with Capitol Insider’s Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley, Cockroft, who is chairing a special investigative committee looking into the health department, said the committee has received more than 60 tips about mismanagement across multiple state agencies.

“It's concerning. You would never run a business like that,” Cockroft said.

 

AP Photo

State Rep. Josh Cockroft says he was surprised at the lack of financial oversight in agencies like the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In an interview with Capitol Insider’s Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley, Cockroft, who is chairing a special investigative committee looking into the health department, said the committee has received more than 60 tips about mismanagement across multiple state agencies.

“It's concerning. You would never run a business like that,” Cockroft said.

Storme Jones / KGOU

State Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, is the Democratic Caucus Chair for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She says the last year at the state capitol was “the most grueling and intense and frustrating,” of the seven years she has been in office. 2017 may be over, but remnants of last year’s legislative challenges continue.

Dick Pryor / KGOU

 

Oklahoma lawmakers are still in a special session looking to find additional revenue, one month before the next regular session is scheduled to begin. Gov. Mary Fallin called the special session last month, asking lawmakers to provide additional funding for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the State Health Care Authority. The legislature appropriated funds for the health agencies but have not yet found a way to prevent future budget shortfalls.

FILE PHOTO

Melissa McLawhorn Houston was appointed Oklahoma Labor Commissioner by Governor Mary Fallin after Commissioner Mark Costello was murdered by his son in 2015.

 

Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Melissa McLawhorn Houston was appointed Oklahoma Labor Commissioner by Governor Mary Fallin after Commissioner Mark Costello was murdered by his son in 2015.

State representatives Scott Inman, D-Del City, and Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, debate on the Oklahoma House floor on May 27, 2016.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The primary work of the second legislative special session of the year is over.

On Friday afternoon, Governor Mary Fallin signed SB0001XX and SB0002XX to provide supplemental funding for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Department of Human Services to get the agencies through April. The Senate passed the bills on Wednesday and the House of Representatives passed them on Friday, without any no votes, to send them to the governor.

File / AP Photo

 

 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is requesting a one billion-dollar increase in funding. DOC officials say the funding is long overdue.

The $1.53 billion budget includes plans to increase staff pay, build two new medium security prisons and expand rehabilitation programs aimed at reducing recidivism rates.

DOC Spokesman Matt Elliott told KGOU, some state prisons are in need of things like locks and sewage system repairs.

KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley outside the building.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Restoration work is ongoing at the Oklahoma state capitol.

 

Recently, project manager Trait Thompson led KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley on a tour of the building.

Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

The Oklahoma legislature’s special session continues, as a compromise bill failed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Lawmakers nearly agreed to increase taxes on beer, tobacco and fuel, and were close to a deal on raising taxes on oil and natural production, which has been a major point of contention throughout the special session. The  tax package required 76 votes in the House, but fell 5 votes short.

FILE- Oklahoma State Capitol
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

As the Oklahoma legislature wraps up its sixth week in special session, only one bill has made it to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. The House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill to appropriate $23.3 million from the state’s “rainy day fund” for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

 

 

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A budget package that would fill the state’s $215 million budget shortfall and provide raises to teachers and some state employees was held up in a House committee Friday, and its future is now in doubt.

Dick Pryor / KGOU

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced it will be forced to cut half of its services if lawmakers don’t fix the state’s budget.

Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced it will be forced to cut half of its services if lawmakers don’t fix the state’s budget.

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