Oklahoma lawmakers seek authority to spend pandemic relief funds
(KTEN) — Oklahoma lawmakers are calling for a concurrent session to discuss American Rescue Plan Act funding.
They are seeking input on how the state should spend that $1.8 billion.
The session looks to put lawmakers in charge of how that money is distributed rather than Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. They would like to enact the original spending plan outlined by the Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding.
State Sen. David Bullard (R-District 6) said he's been calling for this change since February.
"I am a very big believer in checks and balances, separation of power," he said. "The power of the purse is in the legislature for a purpose. We decided to sweep those funds. Right now, there is about $900 million, and the other money comes in later."
Bullard believes giving control of those funds to legislature would demonstrate a more transparent process. He believes such a measure would pass in the House and eventually head to the governor's desk.
If Stitt vetoes the proposal, Bullard believes the legislature will have enough votes to override that decision.