Oklahoma Politics

State Capitol
11:33 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Oklahoma Supreme Court Shoots Down Income Tax Cut

Gov. Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), and House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) announce their tax cut proposal in the Blue Room of the State Capitol - April 23, 2013.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that a bill passed last session to cut the state's personal income tax and provide $120 million for repairs to the Capitol is unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision released Tuesday, the court ruled the bill violated the state constitution's ban on logrolling, or including multiple subjects in a single bill.

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State Capitol
4:58 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Oklahoma State Agencies Seek More Than $1.1 Billion Spending Increase

Credit Katsrcool / Flickr Creative Commons

At least 37 state agencies hope to spend more than an additional $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2015, according to budget requests submitted to the Office of Management and Enterprises Services.

The agencies will be asking Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature to provide the bulk of that money, $806.0 million, the requests show.

The remainder would come from state revolving funds, $41.2 million, and the federal government, $277.2 million, the requests indicate.

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State Capitol
2:18 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Oklahoma Revenue Collections Continue To Fall Short

Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger
Credit Oklahoma PCA / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma finance officials say collections to the main operating fund used to pay for state government continue to trail the official estimate, a trend that could lead to budget cuts for state agencies if it continues.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger released figures on Wednesday that show collections to the state's general revenue fund trail by nearly 8 percent the official estimate upon which the state budget is based. So far for the first five months of the current fiscal year, collections have trailed the official estimate by about 6.5 percent.

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State Capitol
9:06 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Oklahoma House Speaker OKs Hefty Raises For Staff

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

While Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders waited for the completion of an independent study on state employee pay, House Speaker T.W. Shannon approved more than a quarter of a million dollars in annual pay increases for his staff.

Figures released by House officials on Monday show about half of the 117 full-time House employees received raises totaling more than $280,000. The pay hikes for 52 House employees ranged from about 2 percent for a housekeeper to more than 30 percent for three staff attorneys.

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State Capitol
7:25 am
Fri December 6, 2013

State Worker Pay Study Ready For Release

The state employee remuneration study ordered by HB1717 is set to be released Friday, depending on the weather, said John Estus, Office of Management and Enterprise Services public information officer.

Estus said if the weather does not cooperate, the study is set to be released Monday.

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State Capitol
11:31 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Yukon State Senator Not Seeking Re-Election

State Sen. Rob Johnson (R-Yukon)
Credit Oklahoma State Senate

A Republican state senator from Yukon says he won't seek re-election to his Senate seat in 2014.

Sen. Rob Johnson said Thursday he plans to leave the Legislature to spend more time with his family and focus on building his law practice in downtown Oklahoma City.

Johnson's Senate Dist. 22 seat includes most of the cities of Yukon, Piedmont and Deer Creek, along with parts of far west Edmond and Oklahoma City. It was previously held by his father, Republican Sen. Mike Johnson of Kingfisher.

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State Capitol
8:56 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Pay For Pray? Oklahoma House Speaker Proposes Privately Funded Capitol Chapel

Credit russavia / Creative Commons

Oklahoma's Republican House speaker wants to add a chapel inside the Capitol that celebrates the state's "Judeo-Christian heritage," a plan that's raising the eyebrows of libertarians and legal scholars who wonder if it's constitutional.

Lawton Republican T.W. Shannon says several GOP members urged him to consider using some newly acquired House space on the second floor of the building to House the chapel, which he said would be paid for with private funds. Shannon says his plan is to commemorate the faith community in Oklahoma.

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State Capitol
9:58 am
Thu October 31, 2013

New Laws Include Oklahoma Driver's License Cost Hike

Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Public Safety

Oklahoma drivers will have to pay an extra $12 for a license renewal under one of about 240 new laws signed by the governor and scheduled to take effect on Friday.

Among the others are three abortion-related laws, one that allows convicted criminals to seek a DNA test to prove their innocence, and another that expands the practice of noodling, or fishing by hand. Other bill topics include criminal penalties, pensions, elections, and the regulation of various professions.

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State Capitol
9:01 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Oklahoma Officials To Visit Bond Rating Agencies

Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger.
Credit Oklahoma PCA / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin, Treasurer Ken Miller and other state officials will meet Wednesday with representatives of the nation’s leading bond rating agencies.

Fallin, Miller, Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston Doerflinger, Secretary of State Larry Parman and State Bond Advisor Jim Joseph are scheduled to meet with representatives of Standard and Poor’s Corporation, Fitch Ratings and others.

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Oklahoma Politics
11:55 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Panel Shoots Down Oklahoma Legislator Pay Hike

Credit russavia / Creative Commons

Oklahoma state legislators — who earn $38,400 annually plus benefits and expenses — won't be getting a raise any time soon.

The Legislative Compensation Board voted 7-1 on Tuesday for the base pay, retirement and benefits package for Oklahoma's senators and House members to stay in place. Former Republican state Sen. Charles Ford of Tulsa was the lone dissenting vote. Ford urged the panel to consider hiking the base pay for legislators to $44,000 annually. The board meets every two years.

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