State Budget

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about constitutional challenges against a state law to crackdown on drunk drivers and another to increase fees on a pack of cigarettes by a $1.50 and calls by the state's two biggest universities to ask for tuition increases in light of budget cuts from state lawmakers.

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Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

SORT OF AN INCREASE

Trey Lam is often found off the beaten path, beyond low-water river crossings and through pastures accessible only by rocky, tire-jarring rural roads.

Brian Hardzinski / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Two of the largest tobacco companies in the U.S. are suing Oklahoma over the state’s new cigarette fee.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. filed a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Wednesday, along with several Oklahoma companies and individuals.

In the brief, plaintiffs argue the $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee, or the “Smoking Cessation Act,” “flagrantly violates” the Oklahoma constitution.

The fee is scheduled to take effect in August, and would generate about $215 million per year for the state.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The promise of a teacher pay raise seemed real this year, like lawmakers were actually going to get it done. But, they didn’t. And so, once again, some teachers are packing their bags in search of more money elsewhere. However, one teacher is asking them to stay in Oklahoma, and keep fighting.

This year’s legislative session began with high hopes of a teacher pay raise.

Governor Mary Fallin stressed the need for one in her February State of the State speech, and lawmakers put multiple pay raise plans on the table.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republlican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about how lawmakers did in the 2017 legislative session as they adjourned just before time ended last Friday, Governor Fallin gave her stamp of approval on the $6.8M budget for the next fiscal year, but the session ended without the passage of some of her issues on criminal justice reform which she promised during her State of the State.

Public Safety Lifts State Trooper 100-Mile Limit

Jun 1, 2017
Brian Hardzinski / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma State Highway Patrol Troopers can now drive as many miles as they want.

The state Department of Public Safety lifted the restriction Thursday that only allowed troopers to drive 100 miles per day.

The 100-mile limit was adopted in December due to a budget shortage.

“When your job is to patrol the roadways, it is very easy to get to 100 miles,” Trooper Dwight Durant said.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Governor Mary Fallin has signed a $6.8 billion budget bill for the fiscal year that starts July 1st.

In a statement, Fallin says Senate Bill 860 closes an $878 million shortfall, protects core services, and keeps the state government from shutting down.

The bill cuts most state agency budgets by about five percent.

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a $6.8 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.

By a vote of 57-42 just hours before the end of the legislative session today, the Oklahoma House passed Senate Bill 860, which cuts most state agency budgets by about five percent.

Supporters say the plan protects core services and closes a projected $878 million budget hole.

Mustang Republican Rep. Leslie Osborn:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmakers have struggled for months to agree on a formula to patch a nearly $900 million budget hole and sign off on a plan that funds state agencies. To help pay for the budget plan, lawmakers are considering ways to squeeze more from taxes on oil and gas production, an option that has divided politicians and one of the state’s biggest industries.

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