KGOU

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

Democrats picked up two seats in the Oklahoma legislature on Tuesday, winning a pair of special elections. They will fill the terms of former Republican Sen. Ralph Shortey and Rep. Dan Kirby.


Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 


Following the 2017 Oklahoma Legislative Session, several lawsuits have emerged challenging the constitutionality of revenue raising measures. Laws in question include the $1.50 cigarette fee, 1.25 percent sales tax increase on vehicles, among others.

An attorney who successfully argued against the constitutionality of a 2010 health care fee says the current lawsuits have similarities to the case he won seven years ago.

 

cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Following the 2017 Oklahoma Legislative Session, several lawsuits have emerged challenging the constitutionality of revenue raising measures. Laws in question include the $1.50 cigarette fee, 1.25 percent sales tax increase on vehicles, among others.

 

An attorney who successfully argued against the constitutionality of a 2010 health care fee says the current lawsuits have similarities to the case he won seven years ago.

Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

The Oklahoma Automobile Dealers Association is suing Oklahoma over the state’s new motor vehicle sales tax.

 

http://augustosagecountyfilm.com

Ahead of the 2017-2018 school year, the state school board has approved more emergency teacher certifications.

 

 

Emergency certifications

 

The board approved 224 emergency positions at its June meeting, compared to 77 requested at the same meeting one year ago. Over the course of the 2016-2017 school year more than 1,000 emergency certificates were approved.

 

MilitaryHealth / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Oklahoma Supreme Court hears arguments August 8 in the case over the state’s new $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee.

Oklahoma state Capitol
elasticsoul / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Catch up with what happened this week in Oklahoma state politics.

Oklahoma State Capitol
LLudo / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It’s been one week since state lawmakers finished the regular legislative session and passed a state budget. Here’s what’s happened this week in politics...

 

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma state lawmakers have yet to agree on a plan to raise money for the state, and could be facing special session. 

In this Monday, April 17, 2017 file photo, state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow is pictured on the House floor in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogracki / AP

Lawmakers are nearing the deadline to propose revenue-raising measures to fill Oklahoma’s $878 million budget hole. All budget and appropriations bills must be introduced before May 19.

Oklahoma state schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister discusses school issues during her interview for KGOU's Capitol Insider.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

In this bonus Capitol Insider interview, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley sit down with Oklahoma state schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister to talk about education issues, including the state's revised A through F school grading system, teacher pay and four day school weeks. 

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin gestures to a chart of budget shortfalls during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 3, 2017.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Tensions are rising at the Oklahoma capitol as the legislative session comes to an end, with the state facing a $878 million budget deficit, and no revenue raising measures in sight.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

What happened at the Capitol this week?

No Teacher Pay Raise Bill Passed

Lawmakers did not pass a teacher pay raise bill, despite both the House and Senate saying they want to pass a measure.

Thursday was the deadline for bills to have passed both chambers, except for legislation that comes from the Joint Committees on Appropriations and Budget.

Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, who was supposed to introduce a bill on the Senate floor that would give teachers a $6000 raise over three years, did not introduce the bill.

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, during Monday's State of the State address.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

 

 

With a little more than a month left in the legislative session, Oklahoma lawmakers made changes to a tax law and the school grading system this week, and one prominent legislator announced his run for governor.

Repeal of state individual income tax reduction

Oklahoma state Rep. Charles McCall, right, R-Atoka, Speaker of the House, answers a question during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Thursday, April 13, 2017. McCall discussed the budget and teacher pay raises.
Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

 

 


 

What happened at the Capitol this week?

 

Oklahoma lawmakers are plugging away at a 2018 state budget--figuring out where the state’s money will come from and where it will go.

 

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

With a little less than two months until the end of this legislative session, the Oklahoma House and Senate are considering bills covering a wide range of topics, from gun rights to teacher pay raises.

Bill to loosen Oklahoma gun laws failed in Senate

House Bill 2323 would have allowed a citizen 21 or older, without a felony, to carry a loaded gun in their vehicle without a valid handgun license.

Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger speaks during a meeting of the State Board of Equalization in Oklahoma City, Monday, June 20, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

 

 

Monthly revenue shortages have led Oklahoma finance officials to dip into the Rainy Day Fund again this year, draining it completely.

If the state does not have enough money to pay its monthly bills, it typically takes the difference from a state department.

“Normally, they would look to something like the Department of Transportation, which usually has large amounts of cash,” eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley said in his weekly interview with KGOU.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Bills in the Oklahoma legislature faced a major deadline Thursday: they had to pass in their chamber of origin to continue through the legislative process. Bills affecting anti-discriminatory laws were not successful, but two teacher pay raise measures will move ahead.

Oklahoma prosecutors have filed child prostitution charges against state Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, after police found him in a hotel room with a 17-year-old boy.
Cleveland County Sheriff's Office via AP

 

Leaders in the Oklahoma senate wasted little time to strip state Sen. Ralph Shortey of most of his privileges last Wednesday when allegations emerged that the Oklahoma City Republican had allegedly offered money for sex with a teenage boy.

“Abruptly, late Wednesday morning, the Senate took a recess and the Senate Republicans began caucusing behind closed doors,” eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley told KGOU during his weekly Capitol Insider interview.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

 

The Oklahoma legislature faces an approximately $880 million budget shortfall, and proposals to increase revenue have not gained traction. Meanwhile, the House passed a bill this week that would incrementally increase teacher pay.

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