The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

February 17, 2014

Hickman: No consensus on Capitol repairs

OKLAHOMA CITY — The state Capitol architect briefed House Republicans on some of the major repairs needed for the nearly 100-year-old building, but newly elected House Speaker Jeff Hickman said Monday no consensus has been reached on how to finance the overhaul.

Hickman, who was elected speaker last week, met behind closed doors with the 72-member Republican caucus to discuss various proposals to cut the state’s income tax and plans to repair the Capitol.

“The overwhelming consensus is that something has to be done,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “It’s just a question of what and how much that costs.

“There are obviously some structural issues, not the least of which is the plumbing issue that’s going to have to be addressed.”

Capitol architect Duane Mass outlined repairs needed for the Capitol that totaled $163 million.

The most obvious sign of problems with the 400,000-square-foot building are yellow barricades erected in 2011 on the south side of the Capitol to prevent pedestrians from approaching the south side of the building, where large chunks of limestone have been falling from the building’s facade. The building also has been plagued by outdated electrical and plumbing systems.

Hickman’s predecessor, former Speaker T.W. Shannon, opposed financing the repairs with a bond issue, an idea that has the support of Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman and Gov. Mary Fallin.

A Senate committee last week overwhelmingly approved a plan for a $160 million bond issue to fund Capitol repairs, and House Democratic Leader Scott Inman said members of his caucus are ready to support the proposal.

Hickman also said no agreement was reached on any plan to cut the state’s income tax.

The Legislature last year passed a bill to cut the income tax and divert $120 million in revenue for repairs to the Capitol, but the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined that measure violated a constitutional ban on bills containing more than one subject.

1
Text Only
National and world
  • Mideast Israel web.jpg Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized

    President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for the immediate release of the soldier but also appealed for restraint. In Israel, senior Cabinet ministers convened late Friday in a rare emergency meeting after the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration Overload web.jpg House OKs bill to address border crisis

    The spending bill passed 223-189 late Friday, with only four Republicans voting “no” and one Democrat voting “yes.” The measure ending Obama’s deportation relief program passed 216-192, with 11 Republican “no” votes and four Democrats crossing party lines to vote in favor.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana County Fair web.jpg Denver fair’s bong, edible contests celebrate pot

    A speed joint-rolling contest uses oregano, not pot. The only real stuff allowed at the event? Doritos, to be used in the munchie eating contest.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • CDC Ebola web.jpg U.S. warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    “The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who announced the travel warning.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Gaza truce comes after days of pushing for a deal

    Finally, less than an hour after all sides signed off on the precise and technical wording for a 72-hour truce, Kerry issued a statement and called a 3:30 a.m. Friday press conference to seal the deal before any party could back out.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taiwan web.jpg Gas explosions kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwan

    The fires were believed caused by a leak of propene, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the source of the gas was not immediately clear, officials said.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Congress web.jpg Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

    House Speaker John Boehner accused Democrats of pursuing a “nutso scheme” of trying to seize on the border crisis to try and grant a path to citizenship to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Illinois Unemployment_Hass.jpg As U.S. job market strengthens, many don't feel it

    "If the economy is getting better, I'm not sure for whom. It certainly hasn't trickled down to me." — Douglas Hunter, who earned $14 an hour before the Great Recession and now works three days a week for $9.25 an hour, mopping floors and fixing fryers at McDonald's.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • House Obama Lawsuit.jpg Republican-led House approves lawsuit against President Obama

    Just a day before lawmakers were to begin a five-week summer recess, debate over the proposed lawsuit underscored the harshly partisan tone that has dominated the current Congress almost from its start in January 2013.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Russia Putin web.jpg Sanctions could damage Russia

    The sanctions go further than earlier penalties — which had largely targeted individuals — by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military industries. The EU also put its capital markets off-limits to Russian state-owned banks.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads