OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Lawmakers spent most of the session focused on an education spending package and left popular, but also controversial, bills off the table.
One of the most anticipated bills heading into this session was sports betting.
It failed to make it on the Senate floor.
Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, referenced the strained relationship between the Governor and tribal leaders and said, “there are too many unresolved issues that ultimately killed it this year.”
Last year’s session was defined by a near total abortion ban.
There were promises to make legislation to clarify exceptions, such as rape and incest.
Such a bill never made it to a vote.
Other culture-war topics ended up evaporating.
At the beginning of session, a bill passed the Senate that would regulate public libraries.
It would force some readers to get a parental permission slip before checking out certain books, and it would ban others deemed to be against “community standards” altogether.
While a ban on gender affirming care for transgender minors will become law, a bill to ban drag shows will not.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat said last week every lawmakers see legislation not make it to the end of session.
“There’s a lot of issues that we all care about that didn’t get to the finish line, it’s just the nature of the beast,” said Treat.
Senate Democrats said they viewed the budget as a missed opportunity to help more everyday Oklahomans.
“In terms of reemployment for people, in terms of getting people the training and education they need and secure their mental health and more, we continue to shortchange,” said Sen. Julia Kirt, D-OKC.
Tax cuts were a priority for the Governor this year.
He wanted personal income tax, corporate tax, and grocery sales tax cuts.
Speaker Charles McCall said cutting personal income taxes will be the main focus heading into next year.
“We’ll be pressing that hard next year. That is the one thing must get accomplished in the 59th legislature,” said McCall.