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Oklahoma state Senate leader has confidence in House counterpart

Oklahoma state Senate president pro tem says he doesn't think recent rumblings against the House speaker will derail his effectiveness in the upcoming legislative session.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: January 28, 2012 at 1:24 am •  Published: January 28, 2012
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The Senate leader says he isn't worried about all the noise coming out of the House of Representatives.

Emails have been to House members indicating some House Republicans would team with Democrats to oust House Speaker Kris Steele as speaker and a couple lawmakers have tried to drum up opposition to Steele, R-Shawnee, by claiming he wrongfully released some confidential files.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said he doesn't think the antics will derail Steele's effectiveness as a House leader in getting key legislation passed in the House or in developing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“That's just kind of the mindset of the House,” Bingman said. “I've really got to applaud the speaker. At the end of the day, legislation was passed and the governor signed it.

“Their goals and our goals were met last year even with some of the turmoil that was going on over there. There are 101 members in the House so there's always a little more activity over there.”

Three House members were reprimanded publicly last year for separate matters — the first time House members had been scolded publicly by their peers. Several social conservative members also were upset their measures, such as gun open-carry and anti-illegal immigration proposals, didn't advance and worked with Democrats to oppose several leadership-supported bills.

Since the session ended in May, Steele's choice to succeed him as speaker narrowly lost in an election in October when Republican House members elected Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, as designated speaker over Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview.

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