Governor Fallin’s Temper Tantrum
This afternoon, Governor Fallin announced that she was fed up with the Oklahoma Legislature – especially those yokels in the House. Maybe it was the fact that her pals at the Oklahoman called them out on Tuesday. Perhaps it was the overreach and triviality of some of the bills they’ve passed. It could have even been that three months into this legislative session, they still haven’t done anything about the @#% running down the walls of the Capitol like something out of a second-rate horror film. Here’s the best report I could find on it from the Claremore Daily Progress.
|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.
“The members of this body are closest to the people and have listened to their constituencies on issues such as common core, school testing and bond proposals. We know there are serious issues left to resolve and the House intends to work every day, regardless of political rhetoric, to have a successful session for the people of Oklahoma,” he said.
He said one of the bills was designed to save tax dollars by allowing state agencies to better use their purchase card authority.
“The governor is essentially vetoing her own request bill,” Murphey said. “It makes no sense.”
I went to the Oklahoma Legislature Bill Tracker and found 17 bills that Fallin has vetoed in the last two days. I then imagined the letter that she sent our lawmakers, knowing full well that we’ll never know for sure just how accurate this is. After all, we could file an Open Records request, but she’d just claim executive privilege, or some such nonsense.
This isn’t going to be easy to hear, but I’m not happy. For months now, I’ve told you what is important to me. Have you listened? Apparently not. You’ve passed bills over all of these frivolous issues like crime, state purchasing, liquor laws, and child support, but you’ve failed to touch the walls of the Capitol.
Fine, to be fair, nobody should touch the walls without a hazmat suit. We also have to finish the American Indian Cultural Center. We don’t want it to end up like that mansion along I-35 in Sanger, Texas that we all drive by and wonder about. Look it up. It’s a real thing!
And I don’t care how many signatures my general election opponent collected on his measure to fund storm shelters for schools. Why haven’t you done anything with my bill to allow districts to exceed their bonding capacity and build their own shelters? Sure, there are about 100 districts with relatively little bonding capacity in the first place, but this is critical. I’m trying to win an election help the kids!
What about the pensions? We still have work to do to convince our voters that the defined benefit plans of teachers and other state workers are what’s making the state go broke. If we don’t do that, how can we possibly keep cutting taxes in a way that has no appreciable benefit to the middle class? How can I continue to justify the sweetheart horizontal drilling deal for our benefactors? If we don’t get this done, Jeb Bush will never come see me again! No more Koch and ALEC money for you until something changes!
Speaker Hickman, I know you feel that you’re passing laws that are what your constituents think they want, but don’t forget whose coattails you’re on now. I know you think you can fool me by passing some of my minor agenda items too. None of that matters until I get a shiny new Capitol with walls you can safely lean against while you’re doing nothing for the people of Oklahoma. Sometimes I wish former Speaker Shannon would just quit his incessant campaigning and come back to the House and to the job we’re still paying him to do.
Keep this up, and I will confiscate your parking spaces. You’ll be parking at the Hodge Building. That place is practically a ghost town anyway.
Your humble servant,
The Honorable Governor Mary Fallin
Yeah, I’m sure it was pretty much like that:
Click the links below to see the full text of bills that have been vetoed.
HB1473 – State government; modifying provisions related to use of state purchasing card; effective date.
HB2461 – Crimes and punishments; requiring law enforcement officials to execute certain certification requests; requiring written notification of denial; effective date
HB2539 – Crimes and punishments; clarifying certain provision; effective date
HB2609 – Criminal procedure; expungement of criminal records; modifying certain qualifications; effective date
HB2627 – Intoxicating liquors; modifying prohibited employment by ABLE Commission personnel; effective date
HB2607 – Crimes and punishments; making certain acts unlawful; effective date
HB2832 – Revenue and taxation; directing the Oklahoma Tax Commission to issue a separate exemption card to certain persons authorized to make purchases on behalf of an eligible veteran; effective date
HB2976 – Public health and safety; requiring hospitals to provide parents of newborn infants certain educational information; effective date
HB3000 – Civil procedure; requiring mediator disclose if party participated in mediation in certain cases; effective date
HB3001 – Child support; suspending support payments after certain time if parent prevents visitation or hides child; effective date
HB3026 – Relating to the Job Training Partnership Act; deleting language relating to the State Council on Vocational Education; effective date; emergency
HB3027 – Education; repealing section of the Student Tracking and Reporting (STAR) Pilot Program; effective date; emergency
HB3052 – Public finance; Division of Central Accounting and Reporting; duties; effective date; emergency
HB3158 – Motor vehicles; authorizing submission of notarized affidavit for certain purposes; effective date
HB3358 – Contracts; repealing provisions related to sales of secondhand watches; effective date
HB3367 – Crimes and punishments; expanding scope of state preemption to include knives; effective date
HB3457 – Counties; modifying powers of county commissioners; effective date