Oklahoma State Senate
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: January
Sen. Glenn Coffee
Senate Democrats Make Power-Play With Senate Rules Change
Majority Democrats in the Oklahoma State Senate made
a power play at Tuesday’s legislative organizational day on
a pair of votes to amend the rules that govern the Senate’s
“Senate Republicans were seeking a more open, more democratic
process within the Senate rules. But in contrast, the Senate Democrats
– despite having their narrowest majority ever –decided
instead to operate behind closed doors. The majority made a power
play instead of opening up the process to more debate and new ideas,”
stated Senate Republican Leader Glenn
Coffee of Oklahoma City.
First, Senate Democrats voted down an amendment by GOP Senator
A. Williamson of Tulsa that would have required a committee
hearing on a bill – over the objections of the committee’s
chairman – if at least half the committee and the bill’s
author requested it.
“In his address to the Senate, Senator Hobson said ‘we
are all equal’ in the Senate. But without my amendment in
the Senate rules, a single committee chairman can kill an important
reform measure without a hearing or a vote. There is nothing equal
about that,” Williamson stated.
Then, Senate Democrats pushed through additional procedural legislative
hurdles by adopting an amendment to the Senate rules to prohibit
senators from restoring a bill’s title or enacting clause
in a floor substitute amendment, requiring separate votes on each
motion. Since a bill cannot become law without a title or enacting
clause, the Democrats’ amendment renders a vote on a floor
substitute amendment meaningless by allowing Democrat Senators to
vote for a popular floor substitute amendment to a bill, and then
ensure the bill cannot become law by voting against a motion to
restore the bill’s title.
“The Senate has always operated as a place of ideas, and
has given each point of view a fair hearing. Today’s votes
did not uphold that proud tradition,” Coffee concluded.
Senate Communications Office - (405) 521-5774