State Rep. George Faught announced his support of a legislative petition authored by State Sen. Nathan Dahm calling for a special session devoted to overriding vetoes issued by Gov. Mary Fallin.
Article V, Section 27A of the Oklahoma Constitution allows for the Legislature to call itself into special session and set guidelines without the governor’s input. Dahm’s petition would allow for the special session to take up overrides of Gov. Fallin’s vetoes from the 2017-2018 legislative term and allow for the members of the House and Senate to re-author and pass any measure Fallin vetoed during her term, going back to the 2011 legislative session.
“This would give lawmakers the opportunity to fix all the mistakes Mary Fallin has made and decisions she messed up over the last eight years,” said Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.
Sen. Frank Simpson R-Springer said holding a special session before the June 26  primary would be “jumping the gun.” The June primary is when voters will weigh in on State Question 788, a measure that would legalize medical marijuana statewide. House Rep. Pat Ownbey R-Ardmore agreed and said he does not currently support the petition.
“Calling another special session should only be done after very careful consideration,” Ownbey said.
He also questioned whether calling a special session now would be the best use of taxpayer dollars.
“If 788 passes,” Simpson said, “I think we will be right back in special session to address things that are currently lacking in the measure.”
“A veto override special session would give Muskogee another chance at stopping the U.S. 69 Bypass, and give input and protections to communities in the U.S. 69 corridor and across the state from future bypass projects,” said Faught, R-Muskogee, who served as the House author of SB 86, a bill vetoed by Fallin.
Another potential measure eligible for a veto override is House Bill 1552, a government transparency and accountability measure authored by Faught. HB 1552 would have brought reforms to the state’s regulatory process. It passed the House by a vote of 71- 23 and the Senate unanimously before being vetoed by the governor.
Simpson said he agrees that a special session is needed to restore legislation previously struck down by Fallin, but as a leader in the Legislature, more time is needed in his opinion.
“We need a consensus from the caucus before we go into a special session,” Simpson said. “I don’t want to spin our wheels if we don’t have the votes to do it.”
“Gov. Fallin has failed Oklahoma citizens by vetoing legislation that is important to the Muskogee area and the state as a whole,” said Faught. The veto-override special session may offer a chance for legislators to correct issues and “advance Oklahoma in a positive direction,” Faught said. Lawmakers are also considering overriding vetoes on pro-life, pro-gun, and government reform measures.
To find or contact your legislators, visit OKLegislature.gov.