Any special session of the legislature called by the governor to reconsider tort reform should not come at taxpayer expense, said House Democrats Tuesday.
Instead, legislators should work for free if a special session is convened after passing a bill they knew to be unconstitutional.
“You didn’t need a law degree to know that this bill was unconstitutional when it was passed,” said Rep. Jerry McPeak, D-Warner. “It is particularly distasteful to House Democrats to talk about a special session when we were told during debate on the House floor that they knew it was logrolling. If there’s a special session, it should come at no charge to the taxpayers. We should not reward anyone for doing a poor job.”
“It’s asinine to call a special session on tort reform when we left too many good bills on the table in the spring,” said Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City. “If the special session is any reflection of this past session, it will be fruitless. I know calling special sessions on the taxpayer’s dime is the thing to do for Republican governors these days, but bringing us back to the capitol when there was time left to do this in May is just poor management by leadership. If we aren’t coming back to figure out how to implement the Affordable Care Act in the state of Oklahoma and ensure that our constituents have access to better health care, there is nothing else that can’t wait until February.”
“This is a perfect example of just one of the financial ramifications our state faces when we pass legislation that is unconstitutional,” said Rep. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City. “Year after year this problem persists, which is exactly why I proposed an interim study on unconstitutional legislation and what it costs our state. Unfortunately, the study was not approved. It is time we stop playing legal games with the tax dollars of Oklahomans and start putting this money to better use."
Gov. Fallin said at a Tulsa Regional Chamber luncheon last week, as reported in the Tulsa World, that she was considering a special session of the legislature to revisit the tort reform law that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in June under the “single-subject rule.”