Oklahoma Senate lawmakers pass budget bill, effectively closing the second special session

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Senate lawmakers have passed a budget bill, effectively closing the second special session.

The bill, which passed the Senate floor Wednesday by a final vote of 29 to 12, equates to about $45 million in agency cuts. The Oklahoma Department of Education confirms this means $16.2 million worth of cuts for them in the final months of the 2018 fiscal budget.

Minority leader John Sparks debated against the bill Wednesday morning urging members to do the same despite frustration to reach a deal.

“I think a ‘yes’ vote on this bill is a vote to abandon the negotiations for the 28th year. I think we should not do that,” Sparks told Senate lawmakers.

However, President Pro-Tem Mike Schulz said the timetable to pass new and recurring revenue for 2018 was up.

“It’s time to cut and put a fork in ‘18 and be done with it and move onto ‘19 and focus our efforts on ‘19,” Schulz said.

The bill heads to Governor Mary Fallin. She is expected to sign it.

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