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Oklahoma House speaker calls for recess in special session

By The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma's House speaker has told his chamber to take a break from the special legislative session until it can come back with a deal to close a $215 million shortfall in the state budget.

Republican House Speaker Charles McCall on Wednesday called for the recess, meaning any negotiations would happen behind closed doors. He said the Legislature's first priority should be addressing a proposed cigarette tax that the state Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional. Lawmakers signed off on the tax during the regular legislative session earlier in the year, but not with a constitutionally required three-fourths majority vote.

McCall said House Republicans have a plan to fill the budget hole without the need for approval from Democrats. But he said the governor and state Senate's support is essential.

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