MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

May 25, 2013

Legislature finishes session one week early

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma lawmakers adjourned the 2013 Legislature on Friday one week earlier than required, wrapping up a session that saw Gov. Mary Fallin advance her agenda to reduce taxes and overhaul the state workers' compensation system.

The presiding officer in the House dropped the gavel at 7:33 p.m. and adjourned Sine Die, a Latin phrase that literally means "without day." The Senate had adjourned at 12:23 p.m.

By adjourning a week early, the Legislature saved about $140,000 in expenses for lawmakers and other session costs.

In response to the deadly twister that tore through the Oklahoma City area on Monday, the House and Senate on Friday passed a bill to provide tax breaks to property and vehicle owners who suffered losses from the storm. Fallin indicated she would sign the measure. The Republican governor also signed a measure on Friday approved unanimously by the House and Senate to tap $45 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund to help communities recover from tornado damage. The bill allows the state to use the money to match federal disaster funds and help cities and towns pay for storm-related costs.

"We did have a very productive legislative session, and we are ending on a high note," Fallin said. "Thank goodness we have a nice, historic high in the savings account."

The session was a successful one for Fallin, who got many of the priorities she outlined in her State of the State address to lawmakers in February, including an income tax cut that has been a priority of hers since she was elected in 2010. The tax cut will drop the state's top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, beginning Jan. 1, 2015, with a second cut to 4.85 percent scheduled to take effect in 2016 if state revenues increase enough to pay for it.

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