- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A $25 million bond proposal for a planned popular culture museum in Tulsa fell one vote short of passage Monday after a state senator said he mistakenly pressed the wrong button on his desk.

Meanwhile, the House passed a separate $25 million bond plan to complete construction of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum and pass it over to the city of Oklahoma City for operation and maintenance. That plan now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The 24-22 vote in the Senate for the planned Tulsa museum, nicknamed OKPOP, was one vote short of the 25 needed for passage in the Senate. Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, told The Associated Press after the vote that he was attempting to summon a legislative page but mistakenly voted “no” just as the gavel fell and the vote was declared.

The author of the bill, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, used a procedural motion that will allow him to reconsider the vote as early as Tuesday.

“If it comes up for consideration, I’ll vote for it,” Marlatt said.

The proposal is a divisive one for many members of the Republican caucus who oppose the state incurring any additional bond debt, especially at a time when Oklahoma is scrambling to fill a $611 million hole in the state budget.

“Just think about how much debt we’re going into,” said Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow. “I’m not interested in passing that down to my kids and maybe even my grandkids.”

Six of the Senate’s eight Democrats also opposed the bill.

“It’s a wonderful project. We’d love to support it. But we have a $611 million shortfall,” said Sen. Kay Floyd, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

The separate proposal to complete construction of the long-dormant American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near downtown Oklahoma City cleared the House on a 58-36 vote without debate. The bonds would be paired with $40 million in matching funds from private companies, tribal entities and the city.

The proposal, which calls for the facility to be transferred to the city for its operation and maintenance, is the “final option” in the museum’s development, said House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman, R-Fairview.

“We have explored every option,” Hickman said.



House Bill 2237: https://bit.ly/1HhR00S

Senate Bill 839: https://bit.ly/1JUqDM7


Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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