Fallin says special session needed for $215M shortfall

Posted at 2:48 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 15:48:02-04

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says she believes a special legislative session is needed to address a $215 million budget shortfall after the state Supreme Court overturned a new $1.50-cent-per-pack fee on cigarettes.

Fallin stopped short of issuing a formal call for a session, but said Wednesday that the departments of Human Services, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and the Health Care Authority would run out of money without legislative action.

A spokesman for Fallin said the governor is still talking with legislative leaders about calling a special session.

The court ruled that the legislation is a tax, despite lawmakers calling it a "fee," and that it is unconstitutional because it passed in the final week of the regular session, when revenue-raising bills are not permitted.

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