While many Oklahomans were on their drive home from work Thursday evening, the Oklahoma House of Representatives was still in session working quickly through the remaining bills before an official sine die, concluding business for the year.
Among the final bills to be considered was the controversial faith-adoption protection measure, for which the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma has been lobbying heavily for three months. The Senate took up the measure before lunch, passing it easily with a 33-7 vote.
But the story in the House was quite different. As the House recognized Rep. Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville) to introduce the bill, opponents immediately launched into a campaign of motions to table, points of order and appeals of Chair in hopes of preventing a full vote on the bill.
The legislative fight reached a boiling point at which Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell), serving as Chair of the floor, was forced to warn opponents that further disruption would result in removal from the Chamber by House sergeants.
Russ ultimately recognized Dunlap for a motion to previous question over the shouts from opponents, which resulted in a final vote on the bill of 56-21.
The bill will now be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin for signing or veto. If she signs, Oklahoma will join seven other states with statutory protections for faith-based adoption agencies.
The Governor’s message line, accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is 405-522-8857. Press 6 to leave a message about this Senate bill. Ask that she please sign Senate Bill 1140 into law.