Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Under cover of darkness, both the House JCAB and Senate JCAB passed a $6.8B budget bill, after giving members less than 45 minutes to peruse the measure. Dropped at around 11:15pm, the House committee passed it just a few minutes before midnight.
Copies were initially unavailable for members, the press, and the public. Bill summaries, detailing what the massive budget bill actually does, were also initially not presented. At some point, State Sen. David Holt (R-OKC) got a hold of the summary and posted it online:
The House passed two version: one with a teacher pay raise and ~8% cuts to many agencies, and the other with no teacher pay raise and smaller, 4%-5% cuts.
Most of the core agencies receive flat or slightly increased funding under this budget: Education, Transportation, DHS, DRS, Corrections, Public Safety, and a handful of smaller ones.
The complete and total lack of transparency regarding how this was brought forth is absolutely appalling. Literally brought and passed under cover of darkness, without the public being able to see, without legislators being able to read the budget, without being given adequate time to ask questions of debate this measure. This outrageous manner of legislating must end.
This trainwreck is absolutely not how state government should operate.