Monday, April 25, 2011

Oklahoma Senate Passes Second House Primary Bill

The Oklahoma Senate today -- April 25 -- passed HB 1614, the second House bill that would change the date on which the Sooner state's presidential primary would be held in 2012.

There are a couple of notes to be made about this particular bill in the context of the series of bills that would accomplish the same task. Unlike HB 1615, which passed the Senate earlier in the month, this is a much simpler bill. HB 1614 has the sole purpose of moving the presidential primary from the first Tuesday in February to the first Tuesday in March. HB 1615, on the other hand, would make the same change to the presidential primary date but would also bump the primaries for state and local offices up from the last Tuesday in July to the last Tuesday June and shift the filing deadline from May to March among other things. The second matter is that while HB 1615 passed both the House and Senate, it passed the upper chamber in an amended form and had to be sent back to the House for consideration.

HB 1614 has now passed both chambers in the same form and can now be enrolled and sent off to Governor Mary Fallin's desk for the Republican's perusal and likely approval. Oklahoma, like Tennessee, is under unified Republican control after the 2010 elections and has seemingly been on course since the legislature convened to move the state's primary back into compliance with the altered national party rules -- reflecting the national parties' desire to the shift back the beginning of the presidential nomination process.

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