Mike Schulz

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The Oklahoma Senate passed a proposed state budget out of their chamber on Wednesday night, by a vote of 33 to 13.

Many Senate Republicans—like Mike Schulz—applauded themselves for holding 16 state agencies flat, and only cutting the rest by about four percent, given the circumstances.

"I just want to take this opportunity to thank this chamber.. Senator David, Senator Fields, all the sub-appropriations chairs, who have been diligently been working towards a solution for this budget for many, many months now."

It was a wild day at the state capitol as lawmakers tried to find new sources of revenue to fill the nearly $900 million budget shortfall and fund teacher pay raises. But, with just three days left to find new money, they’re likely back at the drawing board.

Starting about noon, there were rumors that a budget agreement had been reached between the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate and Governor Mary Fallin. The scheduled an announcement for 2:30 p.m.

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A plan approved overwhelmingly in the House to raise Oklahoma teacher pay by $6,000 over the next three years appears to be facing a stiffer challenge in the state Senate.

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz said Thursday without a way to pay for the raise, House Bill 1114 amounts to giving teachers "false hope."

oksenate.gov

Governor Mary Fallin stressed the need for teacher pay raises in her State of the State address on Monday, and has allocated $60 million toward $1,000 teacher salary bumps in her proposed budget.

But still, legislative leaders like Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz were hesitant to guarantee it would get done this year.

“Oh I think it’s going to be one of the main areas of discussion,” Schulz said, “And I think we will leave this session in May with a framework in place to put a teacher plan on the table moving forward.”

oksenate.gov

Republican leaders in the Oklahoma Senate gathered Thursday for a press conference on their agenda for the coming legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz says the work of this session goes beyond just this year and looks to the future.

Oklahoma Department of Public Safety

Gov. Mary Fallin says Oklahoma has received an extension to comply with the federal REAL ID Act.

Fallin said Tuesday the extension is through June 6, 2017, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned that failure to act during the 2017 legislative session to commit Oklahoma to all REAL ID requirements could result in the denial of future extensions.

Term limits for statewide elected officials like the state treasurer and attorney general would be increased from eight years to 12 years under a proposal approved by the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate voted 32-12 on Wednesday for a resolution that would send the proposal to a vote of the people in November.