The Morning Brew: Governor signs budget bill
Welcome to Wednesday. Here are a few headlines to start the day.
Governor signs budget bill
Gov. Mary Fallin signed a final version of this year's budget Tuesday that will cut $44.7 million from state agencies during the next four months.
The measure will require most agencies to cut between 1 and 2 percent from their remaining spending plans.
The original 2018 budget was adopted last May as lawmakers finished the 2017 legislative session, but it was partially funded by a cigarette fee that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in August.
Since then, lawmakers have struggled to reach an agreement on how to fill the unexpected shortfall. Several proposals to raise taxes were considered but ultimately failed as House leaders were not able to court enough Democrats or conservative Republicans to support a plan. This version of the budget was considered the final option.
State Lawmakers to consider bill expanding gun rights in schools
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma House is slated to consider a bill that would expand the number of people who can carry firearms inside public schools.
Dale Denwalt reported:
While state law now lets boards of education choose who can carry a gun if they are a certified armed security guard or reserve police officer, House Bill 3192 would widen those restrictions.
An amendment that will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee would expand that right to anyone with a valid handgun license issued pursuant to Oklahoma's Self-Defense Act. The Self-Defense Act lets Oklahoma residents carry a handgun if they complete a firearms safety and training course, then demonstrate they are competent with the firearm.
Handgun license holders must also be U.S. citizens and be at least 21 years old unless they have served in the military.
Construction of Oklahoma City's new convention center could begin in June
The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday approved designs for the city's new convention center.
Construction could begin as soon as June and the building could potentially open in mid 2020, The Oklahoman's William Crum reported.
Financed by the MAPS 3 sales tax approved by voters in 2009, the convention center has been in the hands of the Kansas City-based team from the Populous architecture and design firm for two years.
Fronting along two blocks of S Robinson Avenue south of Chesapeake Energy Arena, the convention center will be defined by fields of west-facing glass looking out on the new downtown park and an upswept roof over the third-level ballroom and balcony.