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State legislature wraps today

OKLAHOMA CITY-- Oklahoma lawmakers worked into the night to pass legislation before they're constitutionally bound to end the 2007 session.

Lawmakers had planned to adjourn one day early but said last night they would work until about noon today to honor staff members and take up any pending legislation.

One of the stumbling blocks to adjournment was a house-passed bill to provide 50 million dollars more in bonding authority for endowed chairs at public universities.  Some state senators found it unfair that the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University would receive the majority of the money and sought more for regional and two-year colleges.  Senators ended up voting 45-3 to advance the measure.

Meanwhile, the house passed legislation appropriating 140 million dollars in constitutional rainy day reserve surplus funds.  Of that, 22 million dollars would go to complete a teacher pay raise, 15 million dollars to the State Centennial Commission and 10 million dollars to help shore up the underfunded teacher's retirement system.

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    It took a last-minute push, but Oklahoma lawmakers have come through for the state's military communities, including Lawton-Fort Sill.  On Thursday afternoon, the state house passed Senate Bill 751, which has become known as the BRAC bill.  It calls for the state to pay the interest on bonds passed by military communities to finance infrastructure projects.  Area lawmakers say it was one of the most important bills of the legislative session.
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