House Overcomes Blackout, Other Problems In Rare Saturday Session

Saturday, April 21st 2007, 3:44 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma House worked in the dark during a rare Saturday session that was plagued by computer problems, a 40-minute blackout and low public attendance.

House leaders scheduled the weekend session to encourage working families to travel to the Capitol on their day off to watch state government in action. But only about 100 people watched from the gallery as the House took up about a dozen bills.

Lawmakers' progress was slowed by technical problems in the House computer network that forced the chamber to recess for more than 30 minutes shortly after convening at 9 o'clock.

Then, the lights went out when a problem at an Oklahoma Gas and Electric substation shut off electrical power to the state Capitol complex and the surrounding area.

It turned out to be a look at how state lawmakers did their jobs decades ago without computers, electronic voting boards and amplified microphones.

A clerk read versions of bills in their entirety to lawmakers and votes were conducted manually by voice roll calls of the 101-member House.