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 The building also has been plagued by outdated electrical and plumbing systems.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
  • Economic Recovery web.jpg U.S. economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

    • Inflation is under control. Runaway price increases would be destructive. Low inflation can lay a foundation for growth.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

    A Palestinian health official put the death toll at 695 and said more than 4,100 were wounded, with civilian casualties rising sharply since Israel sent tanks and troops into Gaza last week in its first ground operation in five years.
    Israel has not offered its own count, but Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said Wednesday that 210 Gaza militants were killed since the ground operation began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oil Train Fires web.jpg Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

    Accident investigators have complained for decades that older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents when derailed. Since 2008, there have been 10 significant derailments in the U.S. and Canada in which crude oil has spilled from ruptured tank cars, often igniting and resulting in huge fireballs. The worst was a runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic a year ago, killing 47 people.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taiwan Plane Crash web.jpg Relatives fly to Taiwan plane crash site, 48 dead

    Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday, authorities said. The plane was on a flight from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona Execution web.jpg Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s office said Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flights Canceled Israel web.jpg Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health overhaul web.jpg Dueling rulings: Courts split on health law clash

    But the split rulings don’t necessarily mean another trip to the Supreme Court for the Affordable Care Act.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senate Georgia web.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Tuesday night’s primary runoff win validates Perdue’s campaign as an outsider.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ODD Brooklyn Bridge M_Hass.jpg Police probing switch of flags on Brooklyn Bridge

    Video footage of the security breach shows the unidentified people walking on the bridge's footpath at about 3:10 a.m., and 20 minutes later the light on the bridge's Brooklyn tower flickers and goes dark. The same thing happens about 12 minutes later on the Manhattan tower.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veterans Health_Hass.jpg Obama nominee McDonald pledges to ‘transform’ VA

    Robert McDonald cited problems with patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity, among other issues, during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee over his nomination today.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

Featured Ads