OKLAHOMA CITY —
“We’ve just asked them to work very carefully in drafting the legislation to make sure it will pass a constitutional test,” Fallin said. “Hopefully they’ll be able to get that done through the House and the Senate, and then once it reaches my desk, then we will review that legally to make sure we believe it is constitutional.”
Democrats, who are in the minority in both the House and Senate, attempted to expand the call of the special session to include other topics such as increasing pay for prison workers and Highway Patrol troopers and putting storm shelters in public schools, but those motions were defeated in the House.
Democrats also criticized a series of special House rules that were being implemented to prohibit amendments to the bills and to limit questions on the measures. The House is expected to vote on those rules later this week.
“That, my friends, is not openness. That is not transparency. That is not good government,” said House Democratic Leader Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City. “This is simply a power grab.
“Apparently that’s what the governor and Republican leaders think is the best form of government possible. In our opinion, it’s disgusting.”
House Majority Floor Leader Pam Peterson said all of the language in the bills already has been approved by the Legislature and that limiting the amount of questions and procedural motions will help expedite the special session.
“We’re not silencing anybody,” said Peterson, R-Tulsa. “I think everybody will have time to debate and ask questions, but we also want to make sure we conduct our business expeditiously.”
A special session costs an estimated $30,000 each day to pay staff and to reimburse members for travel and lodging. Fallin and legislative leaders have said they hope to wrap up the special session by early next week, after five or six legislative days.