We have now passed the second major bill deadline for the regular session, as last Thursday marked the deadline for bills to pass off the floor in their chamber of origin. At this point in the legislative process, bills that have passed off the floor must now be assigned to committees in the opposite chamber.
Spring break week traditionally is a light week at the Capitol, as many members choose to spend time with their families. Many regularly-scheduled committee meetings have been cancelled, as bills have yet to be assigned to committees in opposite chambers.
In other news at the Capitol last week, the Senate held their President Pro Tempore election last Monday, and Senator Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) was elected to replace current Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz, who is terming out in November.
As expected, there was also much discussion last week regarding the need to pass a teacher pay raise. Wednesday night the Senate voted on a pay raise and revenue plan that would have resulted in a 12.7% teacher pay raise (ranging from about $4,000-$5,300, depending on years of experience). Sen. Smalley ran the pay raise bill,
, which passed the Senate floor by a
vote of 35-11
. The plan was to be funded by
, expected to generate $450M revenue from the following sources:
- $1 per pack cigarette tax,
- $0.06 gas and diesel tax, and
- Raise GPT on all wells to 4% (from current 2%).
However, the measure fell two votes short of meeting the required 75% threshold required to raise revenue, by a
vote of 34-12
. Also voted on as a piece of this package was
, which restored the Earned Income Tax Credit that was eliminated in 2016. That measure passed the Senate floor by a
vote of 42-4
Meanwhile in the House of Representatives, Speaker McCall held a press conference Thursday evening to announce another teacher pay raise plan -- one that he said would give teachers between a $10,000 - $20,000 raise (depending on experience) over the next six years. The first year of the plan would cost the state about $114M and would include a pay raise of approximately $2,000 on average. The plan would cost over $700M annually once implemented but did not include a proposal for how the pay raise plan would be funded. Read the eCapitol report