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Oklahoma House Tips Its Hand on Extended Second Special Session

Matt Trotter

The Oklahoma House gaveled in and out Thursday, but that's not because they didn't need to be at the capitol.

The Constitution required the House be in session for an official second reading of bills sending supplemental funding to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Department of Human Services. Representatives will vote on those measures Friday morning after a third official reading.

The measures will pay OHCA and DHS bills through April, meaning provider rate cuts will be stopped.

Majority Leader Jon Echols also made a procedural motion so the special session will be in recess for the holiday, meaning lawmakers intend to come back. The governor and legislature have been negotiating a broader budget fix.

With the legislature in recess and not adjourned sine die, Gov. Mary Fallin will have a shorter window in which to sign the OHCA and DHS supplemental funding measures. It was not expected, however, that she would delay signing them.

Fallin will likely amend her call for the current special session before lawmakers return so it includes work on the overall state budget.