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Oklahoma governor, lawmakers exchange political messages

by Randy Ellis Published: May 11, 2014

Gov. Mary Fallin said she vetoed 15 state House bills April 29 to send the Legislature a message: It’s time to “step it up” and deal with serious issues.

The Legislature sent the governor back a political message Thursday — overriding her veto on a firearms bill backed by the National Rifle Association, one of the most powerful lobbying and constituent groups at the state Capitol.

“I hope we can now move past the political games of vetoing important legislation, such as the bill protecting Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans, so we can get back to the serious issues left this session,” House Speaker Jeff Hickman said in a news release.

While the governor and House speaker are both Republicans, minority House Democrats also have joined in the veto override fray.

Twice within the past week, Democratic House members initiated unsuccessful veto overrides on Republican-authored bills that were expected to be popular with voters.

House Bill 2832 would amend a sales tax exemption law for 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses by requiring the state Tax Commission to issue separate exemption cards to a spouse or household member of an eligible person so that purchases could be made on their behalf.

The governor said the requirement to issue additional exemption cards was “overly broad and does not contain adequate safeguards against the misuse of the sales tax advantage by those who do not qualify.”

The second veto House Democrats pushed to override, for House Bill 2976, would require Oklahoma hospitals to provide parents of newborns with educational information about whooping cough disease and the availability of a preventative vaccine.

The governor said she strongly supports the prevention of whooping cough in newborns but argued the bill would not accomplish that.

Democratic state Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, who initiated the unsuccessful override attempt, argued on the House floor that the override was necessary “to protect children’s lives.”

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by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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