Bar Association dues bill fails to make deadline
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, March 12, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A controversial bill that would have made dues to the Oklahoma Bar Association voluntary was not heard in the Senate by Thursday's deadline for legislation to get out of its house of origin.
Critics said the measure, Senate Bill 997 by Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, was an effort to stifle the Bar Association. They also said lawmakers have no power over the group.
Coffee said the measure was needed to address concerns of OBA members who were not pleased that dues were going to pay for lobbying on issues with which they may not agree.
The Bar Association should not lobby on substantive or political measures, Coffee said.
"I think there is a strong argument that it has taken place," Coffee said.
Depending on how negotiations with the Oklahoma Bar Association pan out, the measure could resurface in another bill at the end of the legislative session, Coffee said.
"I don't view the issue as dead by any means, but right now I am focusing on our agenda items and trying to get those done," Coffee said.