State Senators celebrated “Higher Education Day” at the State Capitol Tuesday by sending Governor Brad Henry’s $500 million bond issue proposal for the state’s colleges and universities to the Oklahoma House of Representatives with a third straight unanimous vote.
Senators voted 47-0 in favor of Senate Bill 745, which contains the governor’s higher education bond proposal. The measure now goes to the House for consideration.
Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson praised Tuesday’s bi-partisan passage of the measure.
“We’ve had three votes on this bill in the Senate without a single vote against it. I think that sends an important message – investing in education and our state’s future isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an Oklahoma issue and I’m proud the Senate endorsed the bond package developed by our college presidents,” Hobson said.
Final passage of the bill in the Senate came on just the 10th legislative day of the session. The measure passed out of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education on a 13-0 vote on February 9 and was reported “Do Pass” by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on a 46-0 vote on February 16.
Before passing the bill Tuesday, Senators approved a pair of amendments urging Higher Education officials to consider shorter-term bond issues with an emphasis on 15-year bonds over 25- and 30-year bonds.
“We addressed the concerns expressed by some Senators without weakening the bond proposal or opening it up to pork-barrel politics. Politicizing the project list will only delay passage of the bond issue and cost the state millions of dollars in increased construction costs and interest,” Hobson said.