Fallin urges compromise towards 'Step Up Oklahoma' plan during final State of the State

Governor Mary Fallin speaks during her final State of the State address Feb. 5 in Oklahoma City. (KOKH/Anthony West)

Oklahoma's governor urged lawmakers to pass the "Step Up Oklahoma" plan during her final State of the State address.

In her eighth State of the State address, Governor Mary Fallin said that lawmakers were in a "defining" moment.

"We are in a unique period as this legislative session begins with a concurrent special session. We also are at a special point in Oklahoma’s journey because the prospect of a brighter path forward is so very near," Fallin said.

The "Step Up Oklahoma" plan was proposed by a group of community and business leaders to fund education, public safety, health and infrastructure needs.

“What we do as a unified group of people elected by the citizens of our state could be considered the moment in time that changed Oklahoma," Fallin said.

The governor also urged lawmakers to consider reforms in the "Step Up Oklahoma" plan.

"We have to include reforms as well. My budget includes money for agency performance and accountability efforts, which will ensure public resources are being spent appropriately and help address public confidence in state governance,” Fallin said.

Fallin spent several minutes of her speech touting the plan, citing that it had the support of all five living former Oklahoma governors. The plan would give Oklahoma teachers a $5,000 raise. Fallin challenged lawmakers to approve a pay raise for teachers.

“What kind of future do we want to have? Do we find it acceptable to have four-day school weeks? Is it acceptable for Texas to steal our teachers and leave our classrooms short of teachers?" Fallin said.

The governor ended her speech urging lawmakers to "bring forth an enduring reality for a promising future."

"Let’s make Oklahoma a special place where we and our children and their children choose to live," Fallin said.

As the speech ended, two protesters unraveled a banner from the balcony featuring a drawing of Fallin's face and the words "Oklahoma State of Despair."

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