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April 30, 2014

Gov.: Vetoes will continue until ‘major issues’ are addressed

OKLAHOMA CITY — In what critics describe as an attempt at political manipulation, Gov. Mary Fallin took a swing at legislators Tuesday, announcing she would be rejecting their bills that were awaiting her signature until they tackle the state’s “major issues.”

By noon Tuesday, Fallin rejected 15 of 16 House bills awaiting her signature that she claimed didn’t have “substantial” benefits, are “redundant” or are “just bad policy.” At a press conference announcing her decision, she pledged the vetoes of House-proposed bills would continue until the House tackles issues that she believes are important to Oklahomans rather than special interest groups.

“Lawmakers continue to find ways to avoid passing meaningful legislation,” she said. “We cannot continue to ignore the big issues facing the state.”

Fallin said the House needs to pass legislation dealing with storm shelters at schools, set the budget for this coming year, look at funding Capitol improvements, fix the pension system and improve the health of Oklahomans.

“I’ve used my executive power, my executive authority to set aside ‘minor issues’ so that we can have more time to deal with major issues here at the Capitol and hopefully get the attention to get those things done,” she said.

Among the causalities of Fallin’s pen were bills that came from legislators across the state. They dealt with issues like expungements, regulating the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, liquor industry regulations and a bill that she claims makes it easier to sell stolen watches.

“Gov. Fallin developed an aggressive agenda this session to move Oklahoma forward, however moving that agenda through the legislative process requires developing relationships with legislators across the state,” said House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, in a statement.

He said legislators have passed an income tax cut, pension reform measures, and a ban on youth access to e-cigarettes, which were all part of the governor’s agenda.

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