Calvey v. Daxon, No. 93,903.

CourtSupreme Court of Oklahoma
Citation997 P.2d 164,2000 OK 17
Docket NumberNo. 93,903.
PartiesRep. Kevin CALVEY, Rep. Fred Morgan, Rep. Chris Benge, Rep. Forrest Claunch, Rep. Odilia Dank, Rep. Bill Graves, Rep. Todd Hiett, Rep. Mark Liotta, Rep. John Nancy, Rep. Wayne Pettigrew, Rep. Greg Piatt, Rep. Tim Pope and Rep. Curt Roggow, Appellants/Plaintiffs/Petitioners, v. Tom DAXON, in his official capacity as Director of State Finance, and The State of Oklahoma, Appellees/Defendants/Respondents, Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore, Oklahoma State Senate, Appellee/Defendant/Intervenor.
Decision Date14 March 2000

997 P.2d 164
2000 OK 17

Rep. Kevin CALVEY, Rep. Fred Morgan, Rep. Chris Benge, Rep. Forrest Claunch, Rep. Odilia Dank, Rep. Bill Graves, Rep. Todd Hiett, Rep. Mark Liotta, Rep. John Nancy, Rep. Wayne Pettigrew, Rep. Greg Piatt, Rep. Tim Pope and Rep. Curt Roggow, Appellants/Plaintiffs/Petitioners,
v.
Tom DAXON, in his official capacity as Director of State Finance, and The State of Oklahoma, Appellees/Defendants/Respondents,
Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore, Oklahoma State Senate, Appellee/Defendant/Intervenor

No. 93,903.

Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

March 14, 2000.


Kevin Calvey, Del City, Oklahoma, For Appellants.

Neal Leader, Senior Assistant Attorney General Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, For Appellees.

Lee Slater, Mark H. Ramsey, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, For Appellee/Intervenor.

997 P.2d 166
¶ 1 KAUGER, J

¶ 2 The dispositive issue presented is: whether House Bill 15741 and Senate Bill 165,2 transferring monies from fee-generated funds3 to the state's Special Cash Fund,4 violate the constitutional requirement of the Okla. Const. art. 5, § 335 that revenue bills

997 P.2d 167
be passed by a super-majority of each house of the Legislature or that they be submitted to a vote of the people. We hold that they do not

UNDISPUTED FACTS

¶ 3 At the close of the first regular session of the Forty-Seventh Legislature, House Bill 1574 and Senate Bill 165 were adopted. The Governor approved the bills on May 27, 1999. The bills contain multiple provisions requiring the appellee, Director of State Finance Tom Daxon [Director], to transfer monies from various funds to the Special Cash Fund of the State Treasury. House Bill 1574 and Senate Bill 165 do not levy taxes or increase monies paid into state coffers. Rather, they require a transfer of existing cash on hand from several fee-generated funds to the Special Cash Fund of the State Treasury.6 Monies transferred pursuant to the two bills have been appropriated to various state boards and agencies to fund operations.7

¶ 4 On June 22, 1999, the appellants, eleven members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives [Representatives], filed a declaratory judgment action8 challenging the constitutionality of the bills. The Representatives alleged that the bills were subject to the Okla. Const. art. 5, § 33 requiring that revenue bills be passed by a super-majority of each house of the Legislature or that they be submitted to a vote of the people. The Representatives also sought writs of mandamus and prohibition and injunctive relief to prevent the Director from executing the transfers.

¶ 5 After a hearing on June 25, 1999, the trial judge denied the request for writs of prohibition and mandamus and refused to issue a preliminary injunction. Subsequently, the Director executed the monetary transfers.9 The Director and the appellee/intervenor, President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate Stratton Taylor [President Pro Tempore], filed motions for summary judgment on July 12, 1999, asserting that neither bill was a "revenue bill" or a "bill for raising revenue" subject to the procedural requirements

997 P.2d 168
of art. 5, § 33. On October 22, 1999, the trial court sustained the motions. The Representatives appealed, and we retained the cause on January 12, 2000

¶ 6 LEGISLATIVE ACTS TRANSFERRING MONIES FROM FEE-GENERATED FUNDS TO THE SPECIAL CASH FUND ARE NOT "REVENUE BILLS" OR "BILLS FOR RAISING REVENUE" SUBJECT TO THE PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE OKLA. CONST. ART. 5, § 33.

¶ 7 The Representatives assert that House Bill 1574 and Senate Bill 165 violate art. 5, § 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution by raising revenue without a vote of the people or a three-fourths majority of the House and the Senate. The Director and the President Pro Tempore insist that the definition of a "revenue bill" or a "bill for raising revenue" is well settled in Oklahoma law and that a mere transfer from fee-generated funds to the Special Cash Fund is not subject to the strictures of art. 5, § 33. We agree.

A.

¶ 8 THE ADDITION OF PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS TO THE OKLA. CONST. ART. 5, § 33 DID NOT ALTER THE SETTLED DEFINITION OF "REVENUE BILLS" OR "BILLS FOR RAISING REVENUE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION.

¶ 9 The terms "revenue bill" and "bill for raising revenue" are used interchangeably in art. 5, § 33.10 The Court first considered the meaning of the terms in 1908, only thirteen months after the provision first became effective. In Anderson v. Ritterbusch, 1908 OK 250, ¶ ___, 22 Okla. 761, 98 P. 1002, the Court traced the origins of the Oklahoma provision to the British House of Commons. Considering the origin, the history, the treatment by federal and state courts, and the evils intended to be avoided by similar provisions, the Anderson Court held that: 1) revenue bills are those laws whose principal object is the raising of revenue and which levy taxes in the strict sense of the word; and 2) laws under which revenue may incidentally arise are not "revenue bills" or "bills for raising revenue" within the meaning of the Oklahoma Constitution.

¶ 10 The original version of art. 5, § 33 considered in Anderson provides:

All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. The Senate may propose amendments to revenue bills. No revenue bill shall be passed during the last five days of the session.

The provision was amended in 1931 with the only change being to reorder the last phrase of § 33 to read "the five last days" rather than "the last five days" of the legislative session. From 1908 to the present, in an unbroken line of cases, we have reinforced the definition first promulgated by the Anderson Court.11

¶ 11 Art. 5, § 33 was amended by an election held on March 10, 1992. Before

997 P.2d 169
being submitted to the people, the legal sufficiency of the initiative petition was challenged — In re Initiative Petition No. 348, State Question No. 640, 1991 OK 110, ¶ 2, 820 P.2d 772. We upheld the petition against arguments that it: 1) violated the one subject rule of the Okla. Const. art. 24, § 1;12 2) exceeded the initiative power of the people by destroying the state financing scheme; 3) violated 34 O.S. Supp.1992 §§ 3 and 913 in that neither the gist of the proposition nor the ballot title explained the effect of the amendment; and 4) violated the United States Const. art. IV, § 414 by destroying the Legislature's ability to make decisions in the area of taxation. The Representatives assert that in approving the measure, the Court made no mention of prior cases defining "revenue bills." The assertion is unconvincing because of the language of the opinion at ¶ 3:
The Petition, if adopted, would require all revenue raising bills3 be approved by a majority of the people at the next general election unless such revenue bill was approved by a three-fourths vote of both houses.
3. `Revenue Bills' are those that levy taxes in the strict sense of the word and are not bills for other purposes which may incidentally create revenue. Pure Oil Co. v. Oklahoma Tax Commission, 179 Okla. 479, 482, 66 P.2d 1097, 1100 (1936).

¶ 12 Title 34 O.S. Supp.1994 § 9 requires that ballot titles not contain any words having a special meaning for a particular profession or trade not commonly known to Oklahoma citizens.15 The Representatives allege that case law promulgated both before and after the amendment of art. 5, § 33 is irrelevant because the cases do not define "revenue" in the ordinary sense of the word as required by § 9. However, when the nature of the amendment approved by the voters is examined, the argument fails.

¶ 13 Although an amendment to a constitutional provision that has been judicially interpreted is presumed to change existing law,16 the amendment adopted by the electorate in 1992 did not alter the language which has been a part of the Constitution since its inception in 1907. Subsection A and B of § 33 contain language virtually identical to that first considered in Anderson and language mirroring the 1931 amendment. The amendatory language is found

997 P.2d 170
not in the portion of the constitutional provision relating to revenue bills but is confined to subsections C and D. These added provisions impose procedural requirements that: 1) revenue bills garner a 75% super-majority vote in both the State House and Senate or that they be submitted to a vote of the people;17 and 2) if approved by the Legislature, revenue bills are not subject to an emergency measure provision and do not go into effect until 90 days after legislative approval and gubernatorial action.18

¶ 14 Constitutional provisions are applied giving effect to the intent of the people voting on them.19 Amendments are construed to effectuate their purpose.20 The Legislature and the voters expect the courts to be familiar with settled rules of constitutional construction and to follow them.21 The 1992 amendment of art. 5, § 33 merely changed the method state government may use to raise revenue.22 It did not change the clearly settled meaning of the terms, "revenue bill" or "bill for raising revenue." Rather, the voters merely added new requirements before such bills may become law. We determine, consistent with cases spanning in excess of the last ninety years, that: 1) revenue bills are those laws whose principal object is the raising of revenue and which levy taxes in the strict sense of the word; and 2) laws under which revenue may incidentally arise are not "revenue bills" or "bills for raising revenue" within the meaning of art. 5, § 33.

B.

¶ 15 UNDER OKLAHOMA JURISPRUDENCE, LAWS IMPOSING A TAX OR A LICENSE FEE INCIDENTAL TO LEGISLATION DO NOT RAISE REVENUE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE OKLA. CONST. ART. 5, § 33.

¶ 16 Initially, the Representatives contend that all legislation imposing a fee or a tax must conform to the procedural requirements of art. 5, § 33.23 Alternatively, they argue that if the fees originally raised were not subject to the restrictions of art....

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23 practice notes
  • Patterson v. State, 20180108
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • August 26, 2021
    ...2002) (discussing that the language of constitutional amendments should be given its plain meaning at time of adoption); Calvey v. Daxon, 997 P.2d 164, 170 (Okla. 2000) (stating when courts interpret constitutional amendments, "the voters expect the courts to be familiar with settled rules ......
  • Inst. for Responsible Alcohol Policy v. State ex rel. Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Comm'n, Case No. 118,209
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • January 22, 2020
    ...with the provisions of Article 28A, but Article 28A itself must be construed as part of the Oklahoma Constitution. See Calvey v. Daxon , 2000 OK 17, ¶ 14, 997 P.2d 164 ("The Legislature and the voters expect the courts to be familiar with settled rules of constitutional construction and to ......
  • Hill v. Am. Med. Response, Case Number: 115558
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • June 26, 2018
    ...a reasonable doubt, this Court is "bound to accept an interpretation that avoids constitutional doubt as to the validity of the provision." 2000 OK 17 at ¶ 24, 997 P.2d 164 (quoting App. of Okla. Capitol Imp. Auth. , 1998 OK 25, ¶ 8, 958 P.2d 759 ).¶ 41 The Legislature chose not to specify ......
  • Okla. Auto. Dealers Ass'n, an Okla. Corp. v. State, Case Number: 116143.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • August 31, 2017
    ...one of its overriding purposes was clearly to "secure tax relief." Fent v. Fallin,2014 OK 105 at ¶ 15, 345 P.3d 1113. In Calvey v. Daxon,2000 OK 17, 997 P.2d 164, we said the 1992 amendments did not change the clearly settled meaning of the terms "revenue bill" or "bill for raising revenue.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Patterson v. State, 20180108
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • August 26, 2021
    ...2002) (discussing that the language of constitutional amendments should be given its plain meaning at time of adoption); Calvey v. Daxon, 997 P.2d 164, 170 (Okla. 2000) (stating when courts interpret constitutional amendments, "the voters expect the courts to be familiar with settled rules ......
  • Inst. for Responsible Alcohol Policy v. State ex rel. Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Comm'n, Case No. 118,209
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • January 22, 2020
    ...with the provisions of Article 28A, but Article 28A itself must be construed as part of the Oklahoma Constitution. See Calvey v. Daxon , 2000 OK 17, ¶ 14, 997 P.2d 164 ("The Legislature and the voters expect the courts to be familiar with settled rules of constitutional construction and to ......
  • Hill v. Am. Med. Response, Case Number: 115558
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • June 26, 2018
    ...a reasonable doubt, this Court is "bound to accept an interpretation that avoids constitutional doubt as to the validity of the provision." 2000 OK 17 at ¶ 24, 997 P.2d 164 (quoting App. of Okla. Capitol Imp. Auth. , 1998 OK 25, ¶ 8, 958 P.2d 759 ).¶ 41 The Legislature chose not to specify ......
  • Okla. Auto. Dealers Ass'n, an Okla. Corp. v. State, Case Number: 116143.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • August 31, 2017
    ...one of its overriding purposes was clearly to "secure tax relief." Fent v. Fallin,2014 OK 105 at ¶ 15, 345 P.3d 1113. In Calvey v. Daxon,2000 OK 17, 997 P.2d 164, we said the 1992 amendments did not change the clearly settled meaning of the terms "revenue bill" or "bill for raising revenue.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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