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Deadline day for Oklahoma House and Senate approaching

The Oklahoma state capitol is seen. (KTUL)
The Oklahoma state capitol is seen. (KTUL)
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Deadline day is on its way to Oklahoma City.

Thursday is the last day that bills can be heard on the state’s House and Senate floors during this session.

“Two weeks ago we had a deadline to get out of committee and onto the House floor. Now, we are passing all those bills that got on to the house floor or not passing them,” said Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa. “Any bill that is not heard by the end of this week is dead.”

But the time isn’t always well spent.

A bill to prohibit municipalities from preventing gardening passed the house this week. Waldron says not a single municipality in Oklahoma has prohibited it.

In talking with the author of the bill, Waldron says the bill was filed because of suspicion that the federal government could decide to change it.

“Joe Biden is not coming after your turnip patch Oklahoma," said Waldron. “So, we get a lot of bills that are run not on the basis of a real problem but on the suspicion, the fear that something might happen in the future and I don't think that's a good basis for doing government.”

“What you'll sometimes see happening at the state and federal level, is that politicians will support policies that they know have no chance of passing,” said OSU Assistant Professor of Political Science, Matt Motta. “So that they can go back to voters and say I took a stand for this thing I think you care about.

Another bill that’s gotten attention is Rep. J.J. Humphrey’s bill to reduce penalties around cockfighting and he says he has no problem with causing a stir with the bills he runs.

“I have tough skin and again I don't mind a little heat, in fact, I like heat, I like when we have a little controversy,” said Humphrey. “I think that’s what we’re up here for but at the end of the day I represent District 19.”

Motta says that this year, especially with an election for an open U.S. Senate seat, we could see more lawmakers running bills just to serve them better in an election.

For Waldron, just two days out from the deadline, he says they haven’t discussed what he believes to be more pressing matters like the state’s budget for the next fiscal year.


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