Ed Murray, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Question 754 is directly aimed at stopping the education funding question -- State Question 744, but unlike the candidates on November 2, both questions have the potential to win.
The resolution that became State Question 754 passed through the legislature with bi-partisan support, but now, just like with State Question 744, there have been comments of good intentions but bad unforeseen consequences.
State Representative Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, said she wrote 754 not only to stop the education funding mandate question but to keep the current appropriations process intact. But a line in the resolution that the measure could not require the legislature to fund state functions based on predetermined constitutional formulas has several of her colleagues now opposed to it.
State Senator Randy Brogdon said it could stop funding for 31 other agencies.
"Don't expect the politicians to step up to the plate and just automatically give our counties their fair share of the gasoline tax, or whether it's healthcare, whether it's transportation, or corrections, a lot of the agencies have built in funding formulas that will be at risk if 754 passes," Sen Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso.
But Osborn said other agencies would not be at risk.
"I've had several outside legal opinions, but it will not affect any of the current constitutionally provided funding formulas we utilize," Osborn said.
And some have asked what will happen if voters approve both questions, since 744 and 754 counter each other?
Oklahoma State Statute, Title 34 Section 21 states "if two or more conflicting amendments are approved in the state election, the one with the most yes votes prevails." That could mean something called voter fatigue could help determine the outcome, 744 appears first on the ballot while 754 is question number 8.
"The longer the ballot, the more likely you are to see a drop off in the number of votes cast as you go along the ballot," said Paul Ziriax, State Election Board Secretary.
Pat McGuigan of CapitolBeatOk.com has been following ballot initiatives in Oklahoma for most of his lifetime.
"It's a crowded ballot, 754, there's now some confusion created. I wouldn't be surprised if voters default to a no vote," McGuigan said.
The latest numbers from Sooner Polls showed 754 has more support than opposition, but more than 20 percent are still undecided. As for 744, the "no" votes have risen since the last poll to more than 60 percent.
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