And Down the Stretch They Come... 
The legislature is constitutionally mandated to adjourn their annual regular session by 5 p.m. on the last Friday in May. That leaves just 15 working days to pass a $7 billion state budget and dispose of 500 remaining pieces of legislation. As Jerry Reed would say, we've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

HB 2365 - The Big Bill
The most significant legislative attempt to fill the $900 million shortfall was finally revealed this week. House Bill 2365 would raise cigarette taxes by $1.50/pack, hike gas and diesel taxes by 6 cents/gallon and scale back some limited oil and gas tax rebates. However the oil and gas provisions would not go into effect until 2019 and would not include any increase in the controversial 2 percent gross production tax on horizontal wells. HB 2365 passed both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, but was held back from floor consideration, amidst a storm of political pressure.  If advanced and enacted in the current form, this bill is projected to raise $340 million in annual revenue

House Democrats Say No
On Wednesday morning, the House of Representatives Democrat Caucus held a press conference to announce they would be opposing the proposed fuel tax increase. While only occupying 26 seats in the House (compared to the Republican's 72), Democrat votes are needed to reach the 3/4 majority passage requirement for revenue raising measures.  Minority Leader Scott Inman vowed Democrats were locked as a group on the issue, but left the door open for reconsideration, should the Republican majority propose an increase to the gross production tax on oil and gas.

Governor Threatens Veto
Perhaps feeling left out of the fray, Governor Mary Fallin gathered various state agency employees for a news conference in her Capitol office three hours after the House Democrat gathering. She stated her willingness to veto the budget if the legislature did not adequately fund core services and warned progress was not being made fast enough to solve the funding problems.


Bills Signed
While most of the attention is being paid to budget issues, several bills have actually made it through the process and received the Governors signature. 
  • House Bill 1104 will expand the list of persons authorized to carry a gun in county courthouses to include all elected county officials. 
  • House Bill 1123 will create stiff new penalties for trespassing on critical infrastructure facilities. 
  • House Bill 1337 will prohibit homeowners associations from adopting policies that would prevent displaying the flag of the United States. 
  • House Bill 1836 will delete the limit on the number of hours per week that horse racetrack casinos may operate gaming machines.

Federal Budget

Congress once again narrowly avoided a federal government shutdown by passing a $1 trillion funding bill a little over 24 hours before the deadline. Despite the successful bipartisan negotiations that led to this deal, concern is already mounting about the future after President Trump tweeted his desire to see a government shutdown at the end of this agreement in September.


AFR Day at the Capitol
Don't forget, this Tuesday, May 9, we will be meeting at 1:30 p.m. at the AFR Home Office in OKC. We will visit about current issues and then help you locate your legislator's office. If you arrive late, just meet us at the Capitol building, Rooms 419 A&B!


For more information contact:


Steve Thompson | | 405-218-5563

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