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Oklahoma House Democrats' bills stalled

Oklahoma House Democrats say they are frustrated so few of their bills this session have made it out of committee to be heard on the House floor.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: March 6, 2013 at 10:26 pm •  Published: March 7, 2013

Democrats, who make up 30 percent of the state House, have had about 10 percent of their bills heard by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, frustrating members of the minority party who had hoped for better results under a new procedure to have bills heard on the floor.

The House Calendar Committee, formed under rules approved by the House last month, reviews all bills that are passed out of committees. House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said it's part of his goal to give all voices in the House a chance to be heard. Republicans outnumber Democrats 72-29.

But as the House completes its fifth week of work, 148 Republican bills have passed the House, compared with 16 Democratic measures through mid-Wednesday afternoon, according to the speaker's office.

Caucus concerned

“The session started off well with a good tone to it, we were working well together,” said House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City. “I think the speaker is still intent upon making that happen, but our caucus is growing ever more concerned by the fact that fewer and fewer bills with House Democratic authors that made it out of committee.

“We're hoping that in the next few days ... that trend will reverse itself,” Inman said.

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