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Oklahoma Legislature petitions court over budget dispute

April 14, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this May 15, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Temp Greg Treat, left, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Sitt, center, look on as Speaker of the Oklahoma House Charles McCall, speaks during a joint news conference in Oklahoma City. McCall and Treat filed a petition Tuesday, asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a dispute with the governor over the state budget. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
FILE - In this May 15, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Temp Greg Treat, left, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Sitt, center, look on as Speaker of the Oklahoma House Charles McCall, speaks during a joint news conference in Oklahoma City. McCall and Treat filed a petition Tuesday, asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a dispute with the governor over the state budget. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
FILE - In this May 15, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Temp Greg Treat, left, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Sitt, center, look on as Speaker of the Oklahoma House Charles McCall, speaks during a joint news conference in Oklahoma City. McCall and Treat filed a petition Tuesday, asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on a dispute with the governor over the state budget. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Legislature asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to weigh in on a dispute with the governor over the state budget.

House Speaker of the House Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat filed a petition with the high court asking them to order the Board of Equalization to meet and declare a revenue failure for the current fiscal year.

Gov. Kevin Stitt abruptly canceled a meeting of the board last week during a spat with lawmakers over funding for one of Stitt’s budget priorities to upgrade the state’s computer systems.

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The Legislature last week approved a package of bills to fill a projected $416 million hole in the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30. But one of the bills requires the declaration of a revenue failure by the board to access reserve funds.

Without the court’s intervention, “the Legislature is effectively blocked from acting during a time of crisis to fill a budget shortfall of great magnitude,” the petition states.

Stitt’s spokeswoman Baylee Lakey said the governor and his senior staff were at a coronvirus task force meeting late Tuesday and hadn’t fully reviewed the petition.