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.
Shannon, who was picked last year by Steele to serve as chairman of the House Transportation Committee and will remain in that role, is considered more conservative than Steele.
Bingman said he expects House members will settle down and focus on legislation once the session gets under way Feb. 6.
“All legislators recognize at the end of the day they were elected to come down here to do a job representing their constituents and we've got a job to do in passing good legislation that will provide good government,” he said.
Gov. Mary Fallin, who served two terms in the House, from 1990-94, said she hopes House members will return ready to work.
“It's not helpful to have allegations in any type of political office when we're trying to build an economy and focus on the next legislative session and the budget,” she said. “We have to be very cautious and find out what's true and not true, and the facts will bear that out.”