Brian Bingman

Oklahoma state Capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Senate passed legislation Thursday that would fill nearly one-tenth of a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year.

Senate Bill 1577 eliminates a tax credit for economically at-risk oil wells, saving the state over $132 million. Under the bill, no tax credit claims can be made on marginally-producing wells from calendar year 2015 and beyond.

State seal in Capitol rotunda
Serge Melki / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Senate leaders say they're still discussing changes to state tax credits and exemptions, despite the fact that legislation with most of those changes still hasn't been heard on the chamber's floor. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, told reporters this week lawmakers are continuing to work through their caucuses to make sure the members have the details about legislation dealing with tax credits and off-the-top spending.

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

Oklahoma lawmakers could potentially consider more than 3,400 hundred bills when they formally reconvene next Monday, although the nearly billion-dollar budget hole will likely dominate the session that starts Feb. 1.

A sales tax exemption approved in 2005 applies to electricity used in "waterflood" oil recovery projects in older fields, such as the Glenn Pool field shown above, with Sapulpa in the distance.
Oklahoma Historical Society

An obscure sales tax break authored by Oklahoma’s Senate leader is subsidizing an expensive form of enhanced oil recovery for seven companies, including the senator’s employer.

The tax break on electricity used to power old “waterflood” recovery projects was authored in 2005 by now-Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa.

The first company to apply for and receive the exemption was Uplands Resources Inc. of Tulsa. At the time, Bingman was the company’s land manager. He currently works there as vice president of land and operations.

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

With wind energy production in full swing in Oklahoma, legislative leaders are looking to impose some new restrictions on the booming industry.

The Senate Energy Committee approved a bill Thursday by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman to require planning for when wind farms are decommissioned and minimum distances from places like schools or airports. The bill also requires wind developers to provide certain public notice before the giant turbines can be erected.

State agencies are being asked to return to the Capitol to have an in-depth discussion about their budgets, the leaders of the House and the Senate said Thursday. The meetings to discuss budgets are a result of the $611 million dollar shortfall authorized by the State Equalization Board last Tuesday.

Oklahoma State Senate

Two bills that would require stricter oversight of various state tax credits and incentives have cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee approved both bills by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman on Tuesday. The measures now proceed to the full Senate.

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.

Oklahoma State Senate

Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate have elected Rep. Jeff Hickman of Fairview and Sen. Brian Bingman of Sapulpa as their respective leaders for the new legislative session.

Both chambers convened at noon Tuesday for an organizational day that the Oklahoma Constitution requires before the start of each new two-year session. In addition to electing leaders to various posts, the Senate also approved new rules that make it easier to introduce a bill.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Members of the House and Senate are convening at the Capitol to formally elect their leaders and adopt their rules for the upcoming legislative session.

Both chambers will convene at noon on Tuesday for an organizational day called for in the Oklahoma Constitution before the start of each new two-year Legislature. After each body elects its leaders, approves rules and formally certifies 2014 election results, they will adjourn until Feb. 2.

Bingman Names Republican Committee Members

Dec 17, 2014
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman
Oklahoma Senate

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman announced his committee assignments for the 55th Legislature on Wednesday. 

"Oklahomans have given Republicans a historic majority in the state Senate," said Bingman (R-Sapulpa). "With 40 Senators, there is a considerable diversity of leadership and talent in the Republican caucus. I am proud to work with such a fine group of public servants as we advance an agenda to further our economic momentum."

Bingman Sets Up The Senate

Dec 13, 2014
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman
Oklahoma Senate

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman named the members Friday who will serve as chair and vice chair of Senate committees and subcommittees during the 55th Legislature.

Unlike the House where House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, altered the committee structure from the prior legislative session, Bingman’s appointments reflect no changes in the structure.

Some members who previously served as chair or vice chairs of committees, however, are no longer filing those roles and in most cases have moved to other positions.

Bill Filing For 55th Legislature Set To Open

Nov 9, 2014

Bill filing for the First Session of the 55th Legislature will open in just under two weeks.

According to the Senate and House media offices: Senate incumbents can begin filing bills Nov. 17; New senators can begin filing bills Nov. 19.

House members also can begin filing their bills Nov. 19.

New and returning members of both chambers will gather at the Capitol Nov. 18 for a swearing in ceremony. The ceremony is optional and no official legislative business will be conducted.

American currency
thinkpanama / Flickr Creative Commons

A report released by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services says 30 state agency directors received raises of at least $10,000 last fiscal year, with some receiving more than double that amount.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

After deciding 17 state questions in the past two general elections, Oklahoma voters this year currently will have only a couple of items to consider in November.

This year's pared-down ballot reflects what some political strategists say is a temporary shelving of social issues that boosted conservative turnout at the polls. Republicans have strengthened their grip on state government since 2010.