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Oklahoma legislature opens special session for redistricting

Matt Trotter

The Oklahoma legislature began its special session on redistricting Monday morning.

Business was brief, with the House meeting for less than 15 minutes and the Senate meeting for less than 10 to go over session rules and have formal first readings of bills.

According to Gov. Kevin Stitt's Sept. 24 call for the session, there are three purposes for it:

  • to redistrict Oklahoma’s congressional districts in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations
  • to update and redistrict, as necessary, Oklahoma state legislative districts in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations
  • to amend statutory candidacy and redistricting deadlines, including but not limited to amending candidacy and residency deadlines, as made necessary by the U.S. Census Bureau’s failure to meet the deadline for production of decennial census data.

Those topics, however, may not be all the legislature will consider in the anticipated week-long session.
Two of four House bills are attempts by Rep. Tom Gann (R-Inola) to head off COVID vaccine requirements from both public and private entities. A House resolution calls for a ballot measure to establish an independent redistricting commission.

In the Senate, all six measures deal with redistricting. They include new the congressional map Republican leaders unveiled two weeks ago, as well as an alternative proposed by Democrats.

The session is expected to take one week. With the capitol undergoing renovations, the House and Senate are not meeting in their respective chambers. Committee rooms are being used instead.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.