Oklahoma Democratic Party

Savannah Melher

When Troy Stevenson left the Democratic Party, after decades of political activism, his Republican colleagues were on his mind.

Stevenson, who heads Freedom Oklahoma, the state’s largest and most politically active LGBTQ rights organization, announced this month he switched his party affiliation to Independent. He said a lack of civility and an unwillingness to work with conservatives have stymied the party.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the $6.8 Billion budget presented to lawmakers with just a few days left in the 2017 as well as the revenue bills getting passed to pay for the nearly $900M shortfall and the process of releasing the budget shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

The trio also the failure of lawmakers to pass a teacher pay raise bill and the Oklahoma Democratic Party elects possibly its youngest chair in 24-year-old Anna Langthorn.

Denise Cross / Flickr

Registered independents in Oklahoma will be able to vote in Democratic primaries beginning in 2016, including the presidential preferential primary on March 1.

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Mark Hammons formally notified the state Election Board secretary on Monday that independents will be allowed to vote in any party primary election or runoff primary held over the next two years.

The change was formally approved at the Democratic Party's state convention in July. Hammons says he believes the change will help Democratic candidates appeal to more voters.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party brought three ethics complaints against governor Mary Fallin on Thursday.

Democrats say Fallin misused the office and her authority. The ethics complaint alleges the governor used a mixture of undisclosed private and public funds on a trip to Paris with her spouse, and that she misused power when she allegedly intervened in a Boards of Medical Examiners disciplinary adjudication of a Tulsa doctor at the urging of former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Registered independents in Oklahoma will now be able to vote in Democratic primaries.

The vote by the Oklahoma Democratic Party to allow the move came during the reconvening of its State Convention in Oklahoma City on Saturday.

With the approval, independents will be able to vote in elections as soon as September.

New Party Chairman Mark Hammons supports the move and said he believes it would help Democratic candidates appeal to more voters. Some longtime party activists contend it could water down the party's message.