Resolution that would prohibit ‘elective abortions’ in Oklahoma on legislative agenda; no budget in sight
OKLAHOMA CITY – The clock is ticking.
Lawmakers have 10 days to agree on a budget plan to clear up a nearly $900 million shortfall and send it to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk for approval.
So far, there has been little progress on that front.
“Nothing has come to my desk,” Fallin said on Wednesday. “No substantial measures to solve our budget crisis.”
Despite calls for work to be done, many are questioning whether lawmakers are taking the budget crisis seriously.
One day after Fallin pressured legislatures to quickly work on a budget, the Oklahoma House of Representatives adjourned for the weekend on Thursday morning.
NewsChannel 4 went to the Capitol on Thursday afternoon to see what was being done about the budget shortfall. However, most of the lawmakers were already gone for the weekend.
With the clock ticking, scrutinizing eyes are turned toward the Capitol.
An agenda that appeared on the website for the House of Representatives on Friday featured several different bills, but very few that had anything to do with the budget.
However, one resolution is getting the attention of lawmakers and constituents.
House Resolution 1004 directs “every public official in Oklahoma to exercise their authority to stop murder of unborn children by abortion; directing Oklahoma judges not to interfere with Legislature’s right to clarify Oklahoma criminal law; and directing distribution.”
The resolution states that “all human life is protected by God’s law,” adding that the Constitution mandates that “no state shall deprive any human being of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness without due process of law.”
It goes on to say that elective abortions do just that.
Originally, the resolution said that “the Supreme Court of the United States overstepped its authority and jurisdiction by offering opinions in Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and other abortion-related cases.”
However, it has since been amended to say “the Supreme Court of the United States overstepped its authority by federalizing the issue of abortion on demand which should have been properly left to the province of each state.”
The resolution, authored by Rep. Chuck Strohm, goes on to direct “every public official in Oklahoma” to exercise their authority “to stop the murder of innocent unborn children by abortion.”
The resolution, which appeared on lawmakers’ Friday agenda, is shocking some Democratic representatives.
While lawmakers continue to discuss these issues, state agencies are preparing for the worst.
In March, lawmakers asked each state agency to think about how it would handle a nearly 15 percent budget reduction, should it come to that as they try and fill a nearly $900 million budget shortfall.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said that troopers would be furloughed, a hiring freeze would be put in place and employees would lose their jobs if the agency had to cut its budget by 15 percent.
“It’s unacceptable for a highway patrolman to tell us, Department of Public Safety, that they’re going to have to limit the amount of miles they drive per day because they’ve got to cut down on gasoline costs to save a little bit of money,” Fallin said.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says the “reduction scenarios at almost every level depicted can be accurately described as ranging from the terrible to the unthinkable.”
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department said 16 state parks could close if the agency is subject to a drastic cut.
The Department of Education announced that teachers would lose their jobs and schools may close as a result of a cut.
“And ladies and gentlemen, I think it is unacceptable that we have four-day school weeks for our children. You’ve heard me say this but I have visited with major companies looking at moving jobs to a state and I’ve heard from several of them that tell me, ‘Governor, your state’s so poor you only fund schools for four days a week. How can I convince my employers, my businesses to want to come to your state when you won’t fund your schools? And I can’t find an educated, quality, skilled workforce if your people are uneducated in your state,” Gov. Fallin said.
The Department of Corrections has already implemented a purchasing freeze in order to save money immediately. DOC Director Joe Allbaugh says the agency was ordered to find $2.96 million that could be cut by the end of the fiscal year.
For now, the clock continues to tick and state agencies are forced to wait to find out what the future holds.