Lieutenant Governor Has New Meaning In Divided State Senate

Thursday, November 9th 2006, 5:58 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma's lieutenant governor could play a critical tie-breaking role in the state Senate now that there are 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans.

But Senate leaders say a power-sharing agreement between the two parties could avoid conflicts posed by the tie and minimize the political influence of Democratic Lieutenant Governor-elect Jari Askins, who also serves as president of the Senate.

Askins said she and Senate leaders may study the experience of other states that have had membership ties in legislative bodies, including Iowa, Oregon, North Carolina and Montana, to determine how power can be shared.

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan says the evenly divided chamber will force senators from both parties to work more closely to accomplish their goals.

GOP leader Glenn Coffee says legislators are in uncharted territory and must find a way to move forward.