Monday, March 07, 2011

Wisconsin-in-Oklahoma: AWOL OK House members

For the first time since the 1990's* last March, the Oklahoma House of Representatives issued the Call of the House, to force absent members into the chamber for a vote.

During the vote on the emergency clause for Speaker Kris Steele's HB2139, which expanded the State Superintendent's authority and limited that of the State Board of Education (in response to the controversy over State Superintendent Janet Barresi's first school board meeting), several House members appeared to be purposefully absent. That's when State Rep. Jason Nelson (R-OKC) invoked House Rule 10.5, or the 'Call of the House'.

The procedural motion gives the House sergeant-at-arms the authority to "compel the attendance of the absent members."

After a roll call, the doors to the House chamber were locked, and the House sergeants began the search for missing Reps. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw), Mike Christian (R-OKC), Charles Key (R-OKC), Mike Reynolds (R-OKC), Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) and Randy Terrill (R-Moore).

Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog has more on the story here, including the missing members on the second roll call.

UPDATE: Rudy got a response from Rep. Randy Terrill, one of the AWOL members. Read it here.
* - thanks to the commenter who pointed out that the Call of the House was issued on March 11th, 2010.


  1. This wasn't the first time since the 90's. It happened last year. its not unheard of. It is unique that it was used as a basic WHIP mechanism rather than as a tool to keep legislative process flowing say for instance when the minority party stages a walkout. Obviously Steele isnt showing strong leadership within his own caucus to be forced to use a tool like this.
    You might want to edit your story.

  2. If I remember correctly, the Call of the House was done in the Senate last year, not the House.

  3. nope

    and the year before or the year prior to that it was called when the Dems walked out.


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