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Today In The News
House goes into recess so cigarette tax negotiations can continue ‘off the clock’: Gov. Mary Fallin made the rounds of legislative caucuses Wednesday in attempts to piece together a budget agreement after the special session wheezed to a halt. “I told them the people of Oklahoma expect us to solve the problem,” Fallin said early Wednesday evening after a 2½-hour closed-door session with House Republicans. Fallin met with Democrats earlier in the day and was to face Senate Republicans later Wednesday evening. House Republicans continued their closed caucus meeting after Fallin left about 5 p.m. [Tulsa World]
State health department employees to be furloughed amid budget crunch: While lawmakers are working in a special session to fill a $215 million budget hole, leaders at one Oklahoma agency say they are being forced to cut their budget. On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that it is working to reduce agency spending due to a shortfall of more than $10 million. Officials say the shortfall is due to a loss of federal funds, increased costs and reduction in state appropriation [KFOR].
As Oklahoma Lawmakers Try to Fill Budget Hole, State Employees Ask For Increased Pay: As Oklahoma lawmakers work to fix a budget hole of $215 million dollars during the special session, frustrated state workers are calling on the legislature to increase their pay. The Oklahoma Public Employees Association wants a $7,500 per person raise provided to state workers. Executive Director Sterling Zearley says most of the 34,000 employees in Oklahoma haven’t seen a pay increase in ten years and earn 25 percent less than those in the private sector [KOSU].
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