By Patrick B. McGuigan
Today (Thursday, March 11), Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, a Republican, criticized a Democratic colleague, Ken Corn, for the latter’s switched vote on a proposed freeze in property taxes paid by senior citizens. After initial support, Corn’s second vote was decisive in killing the measure.
Senate Joint Resolution 57, a proposed referendum sponsored by Sen. Jim Reynolds, had failed on a vote of 22 in favor, with 25 opposed. In that first vote “on the merits,” Corn was one of the 22.
A bit later, Reynolds moved to reconsider the vote, a request that passed easily. Then, in the second vote on the merits, Reynolds was on the verge of prevailing, 25-21. As the presiding officer said voting was about to close, Sen. Corn switched from for to against. With an absolute majority (i.e. 25 members) of the 48-member Senate required, that switch made the final vote on the resolution 24-22.
Complicating Reynolds’ efforts in the close maneuvering on the measure was the fact that two Republican colleagues – Mike Mazzei of Tulsa and Randy Brogdon of Owasso, missed the vote. Mazzei is on long-term leave for medical reasons, whereas Brogdon attended a funeral.
In the closely divided upper chamber Sen. Reynolds, an Oklahoma City Republican, almost succeeded because two Democrats, Charlie Laster of Shawnee and Debbe Leftwich of Oklahoma City, voted with him throughout the process.
In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Coffee rhetorically body-slammed Corn, saying, “As an unsuccessful candidate for president -- whom I assume Senator Corn supported -- once said, he was for it before he was against it. Senator Corn positioned himself as the defender of senior nutrition funding, but failed these people when it comes to saving them real dollars out of their pockets that could pay for their meals or medications.”
As of early Thursday evening, several hours after the Senate stopped work for the week, Corn had not issued his own statement. CapitolBeatOK called his office for a comment but did not hear back from him.
While Coffee and Corn frequently disagree, they clashed fiercely just 10 days ago over disagreement between the majority and minority caucus on funding for senior nutrition programs.