Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan announced today that members of the Oklahoma Senate will reconvene the First Extraordinary Session of the 50th Oklahoma Legislature next week.
“The Senate has a plan to address the public safety crisis created by a shortage of correctional officers in our state prisons. We have the money to fund the plan and we are going to act,” Morgan said.
Morgan said he has not reached an agreement on Department of Corrections of Centennial Commission funding with the Republican leaders in the House, but has communicated his intentions to Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee.
The Senate plans to meet for two days, convening at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30, and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 31. The Senate leader said he has been considering those two dates for the last several weeks.
“Others may choose to sit on the sidelines while violence threatens to reach beyond our prison walls and into our communities, but we will not let their inaction deter us from our duty to protect the Oklahoma families,” Morgan said.
The Senate leader said he was encouraged by media reports that said House leaders would unveil their latest corrections plan next Wednesday.
“But unveiling a plan and enacting one are two different things and that’s why I think action by the Senate is necessary to break the log jam. The House would not be considering the issue if the Senate hadn’t taken the lead and announced a comprehensive prison funding plan six weeks ago,” Morgan said.
Morgan said he is looking forward to reviewing the House plan.
“But I’m not willing to let House leaders use next week’s planned announcement as another stalling tactic,” Morgan said. “Two months ago, they said we should wait until next session to address the issue. Last month they suggested that the Department of Corrections could spend money it didn’t have. Two weeks ago, the Speaker asked for more time to negotiate.
“Time is up. It’s time to see who wants to lead Oklahoma and who wants to play politics.”
Morgan said that addressing the current public safety crisis would be the Senate’s top priority next week, but that he expects Senators to also address the need for funding for Centennial celebration projects.