Article by Bob Donohoo on facebook
Oklahoma City, OK
Several people have asked that I publish the numbers showing Oklahoma State Legislature support for the Pro-Life bill, SB1552, and the activities of this last Friday to override Governor Fallin’s veto. Based on conversations with several legislators and others allow me to give an account as I understand it.
On Thursday there were several senators and representatives working together to see if they could delay the vote on the budget bill in the House long enough to get an override of Governor Fallin’s veto in the Senate and over to the House. At that time the thought was that the Senate needed about three more votes for a successful override and it appeared achievable. Several senators were diligently working on gathering the final support. In the House there were about 10 representatives on board with doing what they could do to delay to budget bill vote but they had yet to fully socialize the idea with other representatives. There was also the challenge of getting the leadership of both chambers to allow a veto override vote to occur at all.
With only a 12 hour notice by email there were about 80 citizens at the capital Friday morning at 7:30AM to do what we could to encourage legislator support. These activists divided up into three teams. The largest share by far stood by the office doors of representatives waiting for them to arrive for the day and ask for their support of this strategy. There was a second far smaller team that stood by the three entrances to the House Chamber making the same request of representatives as they entered. A third team was assisting the senators who were engaged in getting the remaining support for an override.
Our efforts as engaged citizens worked in the House. The plan to delay the budget bill vote was discussed on the House floor and supported by enough representatives to make happen. On the Senate side the count was stalled at 23 in support of the Pro-Life bill, 3 maybes, and 3 against but would likely have flipped to yes votes should be bill actually be voted on. This left us 3 votes short of a successful override. The pool of remaining senators were either not facing an election this fall or were termed out. They simply had little appetite to stand up to Governor Fallin who was on the Senate floor solidifying support for her veto during these final moments of session.
Finally, while supportive senators were discussing what they could do to get around Senate Leadership and hold a vote anyway Senate Leadership ended session leaving unfinished business behind instead of risking a successful maneuver to get the Pro-Life bill heard on the floor.
It’s well worth noting, as told to me by one supportive legislator, that if there were a couple of thousand more citizens engaged this last week at the capital we would likely have our veto override. We were measured and viewed as lacking.
Where was the church?
A note of special thanks to Dr. Damon White for his work on Thursday afternoon to make citizen involvement on Friday meaningful