2015 Senate Summation – week 2


Bugdet reform bill clears Senate committee

  • SJR 30 would send to a vote of the people a proposal to dedicate every other legislative year exclusively to drafting the state’s budget
  • This reform would bring increased transparency and scrutiny to the budget process
  • Crafting the state’s budget is one of our most important responsibilities, and this proposal would allow lawmakers to examine the process in greater depth
  • Bringing greater transparency to the process will also enable the public to take a closer look at state spending
  • In addition, dedicating every other year to drafting a budget would give us the opportunity to spend more time engaging with state agencies in a meaningful review of their needs and expenditures
  • If approved by voters, the Legislature would take up public policy measures in odd-numbered years while drafting a budget every year

Committee advances bill to allow nitrogen hypoxia as alternative execution method

  • SB 794 would allow the use of nitrogen hypoxia in the event that the Supreme Court rules Oklahoma’s existing execution protocol to be unconstitutional
  • Nitrogen hypoxia has been recognized by death penalty opponents as one of the most humane methods of execution
  • The state has an obligation to the people of Oklahoma and to the families of victims to see that the death penalty is enforced effectively
  • It is important that the Legislature act to ensure the will of the people of Oklahoma will not be dismissed by the courts

Fallin announces state agency hiring, wage freeze

  • In anticipation of a challenging budget year, Gov. Fallin this week issued an executive order establishing a hiring freeze for state agencies and prohibiting raises and bonuses
  • Fallin said the order was necessary to ensure taxpayer funds were directed at state services rather than additional personnel or salaries
  • The order prohibits new hires, employee raises or bonuses unless an exception is approved by the statewide elected official who directs and manages the agency or the appropriate Cabinet secretary

January revenue figures come in under estimates

  • January collections to the general revenue fund came in 8.5 percent lower than the estimate
  • Total general revenue was $56 million below projections
  • OMES attributed the figure to a significant shortfall in personal income tax revenue, which came in 25 percent below projections
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