By Sean Murphy
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's nearly 100-year-old Capitol could receive a $160 million face-lift under a measure given final approved Thursday by the state Senate, but the financing method is expected to face resistance in the more conservative House.
The bill, approved on a 36-11 vote, authorizes a state bond issue to pay for the repairs. State Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, who answered questions about the bill on the Senate floor, told his colleagues: "We can't afford to wait any longer and let this building continue to crumble."
Several Democrats questioned why Senate leaders didn't consider tapping the state's Rainy Day Fund, which currently has a balance of $535 million, but Treat said using bonds was "a fiscally responsible way to do it."
Much of the opposition came from conservative Republicans, some of whom preferred sending the proposal to a statewide vote. But Gov. Mary Fallin, a longtime proponent of repairing the Capitol, praised Senate leaders for acting quickly to pass the plan.