Oklahoma State Senate

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Oklahoma State Senate

Seal of Oklahoma.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   12 year cumulative total, in either or both chambers
2015 session start:   February 4, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Brian Bingman, (R)
Majority Leader:   Mike Schulz, (R)
Minority Leader:   Sean Burrage, (D)
Members:  48
   Democratic Party (8)
Republican Party (40)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art V, Oklahoma Constitution
Salary:   $38,400/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (24 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (24 seats)
Redistricting:  Oklahoma Legislature has control
Meeting place:
Ok senate chamber.jpg
The Oklahoma State Senate is the upper house in the Oklahoma State Legislature, the state legislature of Oklahoma. It consists of 48 members representing one of each 48 Oklahoma districts. There are 48 state senators; they represent 48 districts.

Each member represents an average of 78,153 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 71,889 residents.[2]

The senators serve four-year terms with term limits.[3]

The composition of each district is outlined in the Oklahoma Constitution, Section V-9a, which states:

the nineteen most populous counties, as determined by the most recent Federal Decennial Census, shall constitute nineteen senatorial districts with one senator to be nominated and elected from each district; the fifty-eight less populous counties shall be joined into twenty-nine two-county districts with one senator to be nominated and elected from each of the two-county districts. [4]

As of May 2015, Oklahoma is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.


Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution establishes when the Oklahoma State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 26 of Article V states that the Legislature is to meet in regular session on the first Monday in February of each year, and it is to adjourn its regular session by the last Friday in May of each year. Additionally, Section 26 also states that the Legislature is to meet for organizational purposes on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in January of each odd-numbered year.

Section 27 of Article V contains the rules for convening special sessions of the Legislature. Section 27 allows a special session to be called by the Governor of Oklahoma or by a written call signed by two-thirds of the members of both legislative houses.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from February 4 through May 31.

Major issues

For the 2013 session, leaders of the Republican majority said their goals include changes to the state pension system and workers compensation funds, tax cuts, and increased funding for education.[5]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from February 6 through May 25.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in session from February 7 through May 27. [6]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate was in session from February 1 to May 28.[7]


See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Oklahoma was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[8]



Se also: Oklahoma State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Oklahoma State Senate were held in Oklahoma on November 6, 2012. A total of 24 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was June 6, 2012.

Oklahoma state senators are subject to term limits, and may not serve more than 12 years total in any chamber of the state legislature. In 2012, 2 state senators will be termed-out: Jim Wilson and Jonathan Nichols.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Oklahoma State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Oklahoma's State Senate were held in Oklahoma on November 2, 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was June 9, 2010. The primary election day was July 27, 2010.

The partisan breakdown of the senate before and after the election is as follows:

Oklahoma State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 22 16
     Republican Party 26 32
Total 48 48

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $4,964,645 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [9]


Article 5, Section 17 of the Oklahoma Constitution states: Members of the Senate shall be at least twenty-five years of age, and members of the House of Representatives twenty-one years of age at the time of their election. They shall be qualified electors in their respective counties or districts and shall reside in their respective counties or districts during their term of office.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the Governor must call for a special election no later than 30 days after the vacancy happened. No special election can be called if the vacancy happens after March 1st during the year the seat is set to expire[10].

The only exception to the March 1st deadline is for Senators who resign with two or more years left in their term during an election year. If the resignation was announced before June 1st and the effective date is scheduled for after the general election, a special election can be called[11].

The person who wins the special election serves for the remainder of the unexpired term[12].

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

The Oklahoma legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Oklahoma Term Limits Act in 1990. That initiative says that Oklahoma state legislators senators are subject to term limits of no more than twelve years in the Oklahoma State Legislature. These 12 years can be served in any combination of the Oklahoma Senate and the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1990 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2004.[13]


See also: Redistricting in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the state legislature is in charge of redistricting. If the state legislature fails to agree on a map by its deadline, then redistricting becomes the responsibility of the Oklahoma Reapportionment Commission. Although the legislature is given latitude, Oklahoma laws regarding redistricting require that the cores of existing districts are maintained, other political subdivisions remain intact, 'communities of interest' should be respected and combined, and the state must explicitly comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act protecting the representation of minority populations.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oklahoma's population increased from 3.45 million to 3.75 million between 2000 and 2010.[14] The population was densest around Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Growth rates were highest in the suburban and exurban areas surrounding these cities, while rural Oklahoma counties grew slowly or lost population. Of Oklahoma's 77 counties, 23 registered a drop in population between 2000 and 2010.[15] The state's overall growth rate was 8.7 percent, which was below the national average of 9.7 percent, but not low enough to cost the state a Congressional seat, as occurred as a result of the 2000 Census.[16]

Oklahoma officials received detailed Oklahoma results from the Census in February. The legislature formed steering committees in each chamber to draft the maps before the May 27, 2011 deadline. The House of Representatives completed its work relatively quickly, producing a map that avoided putting any incumbents in a district together by early May.[17] Discussions in the Senate were more heated and partisan, and the Senate did not produce a map in mid-May.[18][19][20] The House map was passed overwhelmingly in its initial vote, while the Senate encountered minority opposition. However, opposition eased on the second round of votes, and the Governor Mary Fallin signed the bills into law seven days before the deadline.[21][22]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Oklahoma Legislature are paid $38,400/year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive $147/day per diem tied to the federal rate.[23]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Oklahoma legislators assume office November 17th.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 8
     Republican Party 40
Total 48

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Oklahoma State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Oklahoma State Senate.PNG


The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate, but has rarely presided over the senate session since the 1960's. The President Pro Tempore is chosen by the members of the Senate and acts as chief executive officer of the Senate. The majority and minority caucuses choose their leaders.[24] As of January 4, 2011, the new senate had chosen its new leaders.

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Oklahoma State Senate
Office Representative Party
President Pro Tem of the Senate Brian Bingman Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Schulz Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader Cliff Branan Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader John Ford Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader Rob Johnson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Rick Brinkley Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Kim David Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip David Holt Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Greg Treat Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Bryce Marlatt Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Floor Leader Roger Ballenger Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Floor Leader John Sparks Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Floor Leader Charles Wyrick Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Floor Leader Jerry Ellis Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Earl Garrison Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Al McAffrey Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Chairman Tom Ivester Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

Current members, Oklahoma State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Charles Wyrick Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
2 Sean Burrage Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
3 Wayne Shaw Ends.png Republican 2012
4 Mark Allen Ends.png Republican 2010
5 Jerry Ellis Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
6 Josh Brecheen Ends.png Republican 2010
7 Larry Boggs Ends.png Republican 2012
8 Roger Ballenger Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
9 Earl Garrison Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
10 Eddie Fields Ends.png Republican 2010
11 Jabar Shumate Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
12 Brian Bingman Ends.png Republican 2006
13 Susan Paddack Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
14 Frank Simpson Ends.png Republican 2010
15 Rob Standridge Ends.png Republican 2012
16 John Sparks Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
17 Ron Sharp Ends.png Republican 2012
18 Kim David Ends.png Republican 2010
19 Patrick Anderson Ends.png Republican 2004
20 AJ Griffin Ends.png Republican 2012
21 Jim Halligan Ends.png Republican 2008
22 Rob Johnson Ends.png Republican 2010
23 Ron Justice Ends.png Republican 2004
24 Anthony Sykes Ends.png Republican 2006
25 Mike Mazzei Ends.png Republican 2004
26 Tom Ivester Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
27 Bryce Marlatt Ends.png Republican 2008
28 Harry Coates Ends.png Republican 2002
29 John Ford Ends.png Republican 2004
30 David Holt Ends.png Republican 2010
31 Don Barrington Ends.png Republican 2004
32 Randy Bass Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
33 Nathan Dahm Ends.png Republican 2012
34 Rick Brinkley Ends.png Republican 2010
35 Gary Stanislawski Ends.png Republican 2008
36 Bill Brown Ends.png Republican 2006
37 Dan Newberry Ends.png Republican 2008
38 Mike Schulz Ends.png Republican 2006
39 Brian Crain Ends.png Republican 2004
40 Cliff Branan Ends.png Republican 2002
41 Clark Jolley Ends.png Republican 2004
42 Cliff Aldridge Ends.png Republican 2002
43 Corey Brooks Ends.png Republican 2012
44 Ralph Shortey Ends.png Republican 2010
45 Kyle D. Loveless Ends.png Republican 2012
46 Al McAffrey Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
47 Greg Treat Ends.png Republican 2011
48 Constance Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic 2004

Standing committees

The Oklahoma Senate has sixteen standing senate committees. They are:[25]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Oklahoma’’
Partisan breakdown of the Oklahoma legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Oklahoma State Senate for the first 15 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last five years. The final three years of the study depicted a shift in the Oklahoma senate with all three years being Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Senate and the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Oklahoma state government(1992-2013).PNG

External links


  1. Population in 2010 of the American states
  2. Population in 2000 of the American states
  3. List of state legislative term limits
  4. Section V-9A: Senatorial districts - Tenure
  5. Muskogee Phoenix, "State House Republicans unveil 2013 legislative agenda," February 1, 2013
  6. 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
  7. 2010 session dates for Oklahoma legislature
  8. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  9. Follow the Money: "Oklahoma Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  10. Justia "Oklahoma Statutes"(Referenced Statute 26-12-106(A), Oklahoma Statutes)
  11. Justia "Oklahoma Statutes"(Referenced Statute 26-12-106(B), Oklahoma Statutes)
  12. Justia "Oklahoma Statutes"(Referenced Statute 26-12-105, Oklahoma Statutes)
  13. State legislative term limits
  14. U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Oklahoma Profile," 2011
  15. USA Today, "Oklahoma City, suburbs see 'significant growth'," February 18, 2011
  16. The Express-Star, "State's congressional representation to stay the same," March 7, 2011
  17. Tulsa Today, "Not Kumbaya, but close: House reapportionment headed to a peaceful end", May 10, 2011
  18. Tulsa World, "Redistricting draws criticism: One senator says lawmakers shouldn't be involved in the process", April 24, 2011
  19. News-Star "House redistricting moves forward, Senate plan stalls," May 10, 2011
  20. NewsOK, "State Senate releases maps for proposed districts", May 12, 2011
  21. Real Clear Politics "Fallin signs House, Senate redistricting bills," May 20, 2011
  22. The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signs redistricting bills", May 21, 2011
  23. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  24. Oklahoma Senate Leadership
  25. Oklahoma Senate,"Standing Committees," retrieved March 27, 2013