On Wednesday, Governor Fallin stated that the Legislature needs to return to the Capitol to deal with the $215 million budget shortfall created by the proposed smoking cessation fee recently overturned by Oklahoma’s Supreme Court.
"No money can be spent from any state fund unless the Legislature specifically appropriates it," said Fallin. "Let’s be clear. The director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) does not have the authority to transfer monies to the affected agencies from different sources without legislation directing him to do so." The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Department of Human Services were the three agencies slated to receive most of the funding from the proposed fee.
"A special session is the best option," the Governor said. "Failure to meet in special session would mean $215 million would be cut mostly from these three state agencies. These agencies and the people they serve cannot sustain the kind of cuts that will occur if we do not find a solution." Read more here.