Lawmakers Return To The Capitol

Monday, February 4th 2008, 8:44 am
By: News On 6

Lawmakers return for the 51st Oklahoma Legislature.  The regular session begins Monday afternoon, but Republicans are already facing a major roadblock.  The News On 6's Carina Sonn reports Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives will have to choose a new Speaker of the House.

This is the first time in state history that they've gathered without one.  Former Speaker Lance Cargill stepped down last week after embarrassing tax problems came to light.  Speaker Pro-tem Gus Blackwell was set to succeed Cargill, and then he pulled out of the race when his own tax problems surfaced.  Despite the major setback, four Republicans say they want to be the new leader.

Representatives Susan Winchester of Chickasha and Dale DeWitt of Braman are two of the candidates.  The other two are John Wright of Broken Arrow and Chris Benge of Tulsa.  Records show all four have a history of paying their taxes on time.

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry will deliver his State of the State Address to a joint session of the legislature.

On his website, he writes:  "There are disagreements every session, and that's to be expected, but that's something we must avoid; petty squabbles fail to move Oklahoma forward."