Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cockroft Column - Skepticism over special session

As rumors and new stories have been flying around about Governor Mary Fallin calling us into special session, I thought I would provide my perspective on why special session is being called and whether or not it is appropriate.

The whole discussion and idea of a special session this year stems from a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision on a 2009 lawsuit reform bill. Essentially, 2009 lawmakers were caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar trying to “log roll” many different topics into one piece of legislation – this happens all the time by the way. What this has resulted in is giving state leadership an avenue to get some extra issues pushed through that we weren’t able to address during our spring session. Many indications have pointed to adding tax reform, protecting Insure Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State Capitol building repairs to the list of issues looked at during a special session.

So where do I stand on the idea of a special session? I don’t like it, but I understand why there is a push to get this done. I side with the state leadership in believing that the Oklahoma Supreme Court decision was wrong. Not very many people are arguing that point. However, I am extremely skeptical that we will be able to fix the problem in such a short amount of time. An issue as large tort reform and health insurance coverage takes time to address, and as lawmakers have yet to see any language on either issue; time is running out. My greatest reservation is that each of these issues will be vetted, but not thoroughly. Fixing something just for fixing sake is a dangerous thing in the world of politics.

I support tax reform. I support protecting our Insure Oklahoma program. I support shoring up our lawsuit reform laws. However, we must assure that this is done correctly and not hastily.

Special session takes over $20,000 per day for lawmakers to return to 23rd and Lincoln. As of right now we have no clue on how long this will take. We must not waste the taxpayer’s time or money. We do enough of that in state government.

Please let me know if I can ever be of service to you. Contact my office at (405) 557-7349. Also, you can email me at:Josh.Cockroft@okhouse.gov. Follow me on Facebook: Representative Josh Cockroft, and Twitter: @VoteCockroft27.

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