OKLAHOMA CITY — State lawmakers have called a special legislative session to give themselves more time to finalize a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year and to ensure that they get the final say on any bills they pass.
House and Senate leaders announced on Tuesday the special session, which will run concurrently with the regular legislative session that must conclude by 5 p.m. May 26.
The special session, which begins Wednesday, will give lawmakers the ability to come back in June if they need to override any of Gov. Kevin Stitt's vetoes on budget bills or related pieces of legislation.
The agenda for the special session is limited to appropriating funds for the current and upcoming fiscal years, tackling legislation related to implementing the state budget and spending federal pandemic relief funds, according to a news release.
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Lawmakers are expected to unveil and approve a state budget by May 26. But Stitt has a history of vetoing major parts of the state budget.
Last year, the governor vetoed key pieces of the state spending plan after accusing lawmakers of cutting the executive branch out of budget negotiations. Stitt also vetoed much of the state budget in 2020, saying the spending plan did "not reflect the values of Oklahoma."
If a similar situation happens this year, lawmakers can resume the special legislative session and attempt to override the governor's vetoes.
Stitt has vetoed more than 40 bills this year. At one point, he vetoed 20 random Senate bills in an attempt to pressure the Legislature's upper chamber to cut taxes and pass an education plan. Lawmakers are expected to attempt to override some of those vetoes.
House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, said the call for a special session is wasteful and fiscally irresponsible.
"We've had four months to address the state budget, and with plenty of money to do it," she said in a statement. "The call made by the supermajority demonstrates the continued dysfunction in state government."
Two-thirds of state lawmakers in both chambers can call a special session at any time.