Partisan battle erupts in state House on Legislature's opening day

Tuesday, February 8th 2005, 5:56 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Republican and Democratic members of the House started the legislative session off on a partisan note Monday.

The House voted 55-44 along party lines to adopt rule changes drafted by the body's new GOP majority after a series of amendments and parliamentary challenges by Democrats were rejected.

Democrats expressed frustration after only one of eight proposed amendments were accepted by Republicans, who took a 57-44 majority in last fall's round of legislative elections.

Oklahoma City state Representative Opio Toure says the rules shut down the ability of people to speak on the House floor.

GOP Floor Leader Lance Cargill of Harrah said the rules were designed to open up the legislative process and make it more accountable.

The rules increase the importance of the committee process by expanding it from three to five weeks and they require that most amendments be handled in committee instead of on the House floor.