Written by Dick Pryor on Thursday March 31, 2011
After a four-week hiatus, Oklahoma Forum returns on March 27 with a program devoted to the recent work done by Oklahoma legislators. Michael McNutt of The Oklahoman/NewsOK.com, Sean Murphy of the Associated Press, Michael Cross of KOSU Radio and Scott Carter of The Journal Record discussed the latest from under the Capitol dome.
One of the issues that continues to affect the legislative process is an ongoing rift between a small group of socially-conservative House members and the House legislative leadership. The discord first came to light earlier in the year when some members of the House Republican caucus and members of the Tea Party in Oklahoma protested priorities and procedures to be followed in the House at a caucus meeting in Bartlesville. Our panel of reporters says the rift is continuing, and has affected some of the bills, and not heard, by the House of Representatives. Even with a 70-31 advantage, that means that the majority has been unable to garner enough votes to pass the emergency clause on some measures.
We also discussed efforts to change Oklahoma's civil justice system by placing a cap on non-economic damages, irrespective of what jurors in such cases may want to do. It's been a divisive issue for years, and is again generating heated debate this year. Some Republican members have even broken with their party to oppose the bills containing a cap. Democrats has provided consistent opposition.
In addition to the civil justice bills, we also talked about bills to change the power structure at the Capitol, the state budget, proposed closure of seven state parks and social issues. We plan to bring the legislative leadership to the Oklahoma Forum table sometime in April to give their perspective on legislation moving through the lawmaking process.
Until next time,
(Pictured above, left to right: Host Dick Pryor, Michael McNutt, Sean Murphy, Michael Cross, Scott Carter)
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