In an effort to keep state government functioning even if a budget impasse develops later this legislative session, the Oklahoma State Senate approved a $4.8 billion general appropriations bill late Wednesday afternoon.
In effect, the "G.A." bill funds state government at the same level as the current fiscal year, allowing lawmakers to allocate any remaining surplus revenue later in the session in separate budget reconciliation bills. By passing the legislation, lawmakers guarantee that state government will continue operating, even if a budget impasse exists when the legislative session adjourns in May.
"We're doing everything we can to keep government operating in an orderly manner without any potential disruptions. We're trying to avoid a scenario in which an eleventh-hour budget disagreement could derail the services that benefit Oklahomans," said Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor.
Governor Keating and legislative leaders reached a final agreement on the important budget measure just a few hours before the Senate action. The House is expected to pass the "G.A." bill tomorrow.
"This is a safety net for the people of Oklahoma. It guarantees that we won't have government shutdown, no matter what happens in the final days of session," said Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.