Government of Oklahoma - Legislative Branch

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch is the branch of the Oklahoma State government that creates the laws of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Legislature, which makes up the legislative branch, consists of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. All of the State's legislative authority is vest within the Legislature. The most important of these powers are the powers to levy and collect taxes, borrow money, raise and maintain the militia of the State. The constitution grants the Legislature the authority to legislate on all rightful subjects of legislation.

The Legislature meets for one 4-month regular session each year from February to May However, under special circumstances, the Governor or the two-thirds of Legislature can call special sessions. The Governor has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of the Legislature. All acts of the Legislature must be approved by a majority in both houses and signed by the Governor to be enacted into law. However, should the Governor veto the bill, the Legislature, by a two-third vote in both houses, may over turn the Governor's veto and the bill be enacted into law without the Governor's signature. On appropriations bills, however, the Governor has a line-item veto.

Under the Constitution, members of both houses enjoy the privilege of being free from arrest in all cases, except for treason, felony, and breach of the peace. This immunity applies to members during sessions and when traveling to and from sessions. The constitution also guarantees absolute freedom of debate in both houses, providing, "for any speech or debate in either House, shall not be questioned in any other place."

Members of the Legislature are limited to a combined total of 12 years service in the Legislature, regardless of house.

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