State Legislators ponder veto overrides
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Published: 16-May-2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the state House of Representatives are pushing their Speaker to allow an attempt to override Gov. Mary Fallin’s veto of a pension reform bill, House Bill 2077. Override of the chief executive’s veto of Senate Bill 907, to create an accountability panel to oversee executive agency spending, is also being discussed but seems less likely.


In his weekly briefing with members of the Capitol press corps, House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said members of his GOP caucus had asked to discuss the issue at Monday’s Caucus meeting, likely to be the last gathering of the group before this year’s adjournment. 

Meeting with reporters late on the afternoon of May 16 (Thursday), Speaker Shannon said he was “really disappointed about that veto.” He said a possible override “will be part of the discussion” this Monday. “This issue is that important” to some of his members, Shannon said.

The speaker did not commit to support an override, saying he wanted to hear from members before deciding the issue.

Thursday morning, Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said an override attempt is “always possible, but I would hate to end on a negative note at the end of the session.” 

At his weekly encounter with the press corps, Bingman declined to agree with a reporter who wondered aloud if the veto was an example of the governor “using her muscle” to push back because legislators never acted on her idea for consolidation of administrative functions across the multiple state government retirement funds.

Failure of that gubernatorial objective likely contributed to Fallin’s decision to veto a reform that for the first time in state history would have shifted some government employees away from the defined benefit system pension many analysts contend is unsustainable.

Reiterating his support for both the pension plan in H.B 2077 and the joint legislative panel that would have been created by S.B. 907, Bingman told reporters, “I voted for both bills. I don’t agree with the vetoes, but I think we’ll come back next year and work on that.” 

Sen. Bingman said further pension reforms should be “one of the priorities” in the 2014 session. 

In a separate session with reporters, House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said he was “a little puzzled” by Fallin’s vetoes. “She’s vetoing Republican bills. I’m curious whether they’ll try to override.

You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at Patrick@capitolbeatok.com and follow us on Twitter: @capitolbeatok.

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