Oklahoma Senate OKs bills to boost ed funding - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Oklahoma Senate OKs bills to boost ed funding

Posted: Updated:
The Oklahoma Senate approved two education funding bills on Friday. (Photo: Oklahoma Legislature) The Oklahoma Senate approved two education funding bills on Friday. (Photo: Oklahoma Legislature)
Teachers have been protesting at the Oklahoma Capitol all week. (KFOR) Teachers have been protesting at the Oklahoma Capitol all week. (KFOR)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- As a teacher walkout stretched into its fifth day Friday, the Oklahoma Senate passed two bills designed to generate about $40 million that Republican leaders hope will placate thousands of teachers striking for more money for public schools.

The upper chamber passed House Bill 1019-XX to tax certain Internet sales along with House Bill 3375, which would permit Las Vegas-style gaming in the state.

The Senate also voted to repeal parts of a hotel-motel tax bill.

If approved without changes in the Senate, both bills would head to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk for her signature.

"The Oklahoma Senate has shown repeatedly its commitment to students and teachers first by passing the largest teacher pay raise in state history and now by approving measures providing millions of dollars in new funding for Oklahoma classrooms," Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz (R-Altus) said in a written statement.

Meanwhile, thousands of teachers, students and their supporters thronged the state Capitol, packing the hallways and chanting in the rotundas.

The head of Oklahoma's largest teachers' union says if lawmakers want to end a teacher walkout, they must pass a repeal of the capital gains tax exemption and the governor must veto a repeal of a proposed lodging tax.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest told teachers rallying at the Capitol Friday that both actions would bring an end to the teacher walkout that has stretched for five days. If not, Priest said teachers are prepared to return to the Capitol next week and for as long as it takes to bring more money to public schools.

The $5-per-night lodging tax would generate about $50 million annually but has faced fierce opposition from chambers of commerce and the hospitality industry. The capital gains tax deduction would generate about $120 million annually.

Earlier, OEA's executive director David Duvall agreed that he doesn't think the legislation is enough to keep teachers from walking out again next week.

Last week, Fallin signed legislation last week granting teachers pay raises of about $6,100 as well as tens of millions of new dollars for public schools. But many educators said classrooms need more money and walked out of school to protest at the Capitol.

KTEN contributed to this report.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Submit a News Tip

    Do you have a news tip for KTEN?

    Begin by entering your email address in the field below or call 903-548-4010

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Your news tip has been submitted. If you provided contact information, we might use it to reach out to you if additional information is required.