Fent Keeps Busy
Issues facing challenges from Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent this year include House Bill 2032 and funds to the Medical Examiners’ Office from the OK State Regents for Higher Education Master Lease Program.
HB2032 passed out of the House, 65 to 35 and the Senate, 32 to 14 and was signed by the Governor.
The bill was part of a deal crafted by legislative leaders and Governor Fallin to cut the top personal income tax rate from 5.25% to 5% in 2015 and a trigger to drop it down to 4.8% in 2016.
2032 also included a provision to provide $120M in repairs to the State Capitol over the next two years.
Fent believes this constitutes a measure with multiple subjects which violates Article 5, Section 57 of the Constitution requiring acts to have just one subject.
Legislative leaders defend the bill saying House and Senate legal council have assured them the measure is constitutional.
A hearing before a Supreme Court referee is set for July.
The other issue Fent says he will take up in the next few months includes $38.5M for the Medical Examiners’ Office.
The money was approved by the Oklahoma Council of Bond Oversight.
It would come from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Master Lease Program.
Much of the Master Lease Program goes to buildings on state campuses and universities.
The money for the Medical Examiners’ new office would go to the building on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Fent along with Senator Patrick Anderson, R, Enid, are calling the move by the Bond Council unconstitutional because it didn’t get legislative approval.
Council members say they approved the measure after getting assurance from State Bond Advisor Jim Joseph and the council’s attorneys that the move was legal.