Oklahoma House to take up $7.1 billion state budget

Special Senate and House of Representatives budget committees pass a measure containing the proposed Oklahoma state budget. If it wins House approval Thursday, the bill will be taken up early next week by the Senate.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 9, 2013
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Martin, chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said a special House budget committee will take up nearly 20 bills Thursday morning that contain line-item expenditures for state agencies, such as the state Education Department, the Department of Human Services and the Corrections Department.

Some committee members complained Wednesday about the budget process, saying it included only a handful of Republican legislative leaders, leaving out most of the 149 legislators.

“This process needs to be open to the public,” said Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. “There's a better way to do this.”

Martin, who let committee members ask questions on the measure for more than an hour, said he would allow further questions when HB 2301 is taken up Thursday on the floor.

“I owe it to you and the rest of the members to be as fair as I can,” he said.

The budget represents a 3.9 percent increase in legislative appropriations, or about $267 million, for the 2014 fiscal year compared with this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Martin said most of the additional money is earmarked for education, mental health, human services, health care and transportation.