Yesterday morning, The Oklahoma Supreme Court surprised absolutely no one (with a brain) by ruling the well-intentioned but unconstitutional cigarette fee increase passed during the last legislative session was, indeed, unconstitutional.
Here are the details via Double-D Denwalt with NewsOK.com:
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a $1.50 cigarette fee scheduled to go into effect this month is an unconstitutional tax, setting the stage for another fight over spending at the state Capitol.
The decision strips $215 million from the state budget, specifically from agencies that provide health services. Gov. Mary Fallin said she thinks a special legislative session is inevitable, and several lawmakers have called for another mid-year gathering to fill the new shortfall.
"These agencies and the people they serve cannot sustain the kind of cuts that will occur if we do not find a solution," Fallin said. "My belief is we will have to come into special session to address this issue."
Yep, stock Junior's with extra whiskey, cue the karaoke machine at Nancy's Lighthouse, and wake up the teenage male prostitutes, and it looks like we're having a rare special session of the Oklahoma legislature! I can't wait. It will be interesting to see what type of tough, kick the can down the road, sacrifice the well-being of Oklahoma citizens to protect the profits of the energy industry legislation our incompetent lawmakers come up with this time around.
The Supreme Court's decision triggered a barrage of "this doesn't surprise me" statements and press releases from Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates. Mayor Mick even used the ruling as an opportunity to brag about being in Guymon.
I do agree with Josh on one thing – he is definitely not a lawyer. Perhaps if we had more lawyers and less pastors in the Oklahoma legislature, they wouldn't waste so much time passing unconstitutional laws.
That being said, what exactly does Josh not "personally agree with?" You don't have to be a lawyer to know the "fee" was essentially a tax, and the sneaky way it was passed violated the Oklahoma constitution. Even a man who moonlights as a Batman cosplayer should know that.
Anyway, I guess we'll wait for the powers that be to announce a special session of the Oklahoma legislature. Everyone in the know seems to think it will happen, but unless we're bringing in a whole new group of lawmakers, I'm not very hopeful they'll accomplish anything. They'll probably just pass a law that directs the tourism department to get cigarette smokers to vacation at our state parks before they're all closed due to a lack of funding.