Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants Special Session To Amend State Budget

Friday, June 20th 2014, 5:08 pm
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma lawmaker wants state legislators to conduct a special session in light of Attorney General Scott Pruitt's opinion that a section of the state's budget is unconstitutional.

State Representative Mike Reynolds wants the special session to be held before July 1 - the start of the new fiscal year.

In an opinion issued earlier this week, Pruitt said a section of a general appropriation bill is unlawful in attempting to take almost $7.9 million from Oklahoma's Promise or OHLAP, a program that provides free college tuition to students from low-income families.

In section 144 of Senate Bill 2127, the legislature is overstepping its authority in diverting the money from that program to be spent elsewhere, according to the attorney general.

Governor Mary Fallin's office said Friday that she has no plans to call a special session.

"The governor and her staff are reviewing the legal and fiscal options available to the state as it relates to OHLAP and this year's budget," said Communications Director Alex Weintz.

"She is absolutely committed to funding OHLAP. No scholarships will be jeopardized."

Pruitt issued the opinion at the request of a Del City lawmaker. The Attorney General concludes that taking or siphoning the money from Oklahoma's Promise is not lawful.

State Representative Mike Reynolds (R-OKC) says it is critical for the legislature to hold a special session before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

"If one provision of the bill is declared unconstitutional, then the entire bill is unconstitutional," Reynolds said in a release Friday.