Okla. Bill: Check Here, Fund Fight Vs. Fed LawsSubmitted by DeMolay on Tue, 04/09/2013 - 03:53
Oklahoma residents might soon be able to direct a portion of their state income tax refunds to defend its laws against federal constitutional challenges, an ironic and unintended consequence of a lawmaker's tongue-in-cheek skewering of the cost of such court fights.
Rep. Joe Dorman, a Democrat from Rush Springs, said he had grown tired of seeing Oklahoma spending millions of dollars defending its proposed laws in the courts, and suggested a tax form "check-off" as a way to draw voters' attention to the costs of legal action.
But the idea of aiding Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in his defense against constitutional challenges and fighting federal statutes has been a hit. Instead of being shuffled off to a committee where it wouldn't get a hearing, the measure sailed through the House last month on an 80-15 vote, and the Republican Senate sponsor said he intends to bring the bill to the full Senate for a vote — perhaps this week, right before federal taxes are due.
"It's getting more momentum than I expected," Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said. "I honestly did not expect the bill to even get a hearing, and here it is flying right through.
"But people do realize that we're spending a lot of taxpayer dollars, millions of dollars in taxpayer money, fighting these lawsuits," he added. Recently challenged laws included restrictions on immigrants, abortion and the use of international law in state courts.