Early, voluntary departures are taking a toll on Democratic clout in the Legislature at a time when Republican successes at the ballot box have taken a toll on the Democratic head count. Senate Minority Leader Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, resigned from his leadership post and left the state before the term-limit clock ran out. Former House Minority Leader Danny Morgan, D-Prague, says he’ll leave the Legislature before terms limits force him out. Former Senate Democratic leader Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee, is leaving early as well, putting his final three-plus years on ice. We thought term limits would change the makeup of the Legislature; we never thought so many lawmakers wouldn’t stay for the whole 12 years they’re eligible to serve. Laster filled the seat vacated by Brad Henry when he left the Senate to become governor in 2003. Henry, by the way, is technically eligible to serve another couple of years in the Legislature.
- Photo by Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman