The legislative session is at the time where the Representatives and Senators are working on the final versions of the bills. In this stage of the process, legislators can either accept them amendments that the other body placed in their bill or they can reject the amendments and send the bill to a conference committee to work out the details. Most times, the legislators will reject the amendments and request further study. When this happens, the legislator and the author of the bill in the other body will prepare a list of conferees to work on this bill. Most times, the two authors work up the details of what they want in the bill and simply get permission from the conferees to okay these details. Once this is completed, the bill will then come back to both bodies and be considered. No amendments can be accepted on the floor at this point, so it is simply approve the bill or send it back to committee for further changes.
One exception to this was seen on Tuesday. Rep. Randy Terrill brought forth his legislation regarding illegal immigration. The Senate amended this bill significantly and took out many of the provisions that were problematic. My language regarding a division of law enforcement to conduct stings on the sale of illegal documentation modeled after Arizona law was left in the bill and will be a huge effort towards cracking down on fake identification sales. I voted for this bill though there are a few things that need to be changed next year. Often times we have to weigh how much good is in a bill compared to how much that is not agreeable and determine the best choice. In this case, something needs to happen and efforts can be made next year to improve on this should it become law.
This was a busy weekend at home as I was able to attend several events including the Grady County Mineral Owners Association banquet, Earth Day at Southwest Elementary in Chickasha, the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber luncheon and the retirement party for Trooper Stewart Meyer. Trooper Meyer has had a fantastic career with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and I wish him the very best with the extra time on his hands, most of which I think is going to be dedicated to his grand baby.
With all this, I still had the chance to get away for a few hours on Saturday to go see Jimmy Buffett in concert. He is my favorite performer and his fan clubs around the country do tremendous efforts with community service projects. In 2005, Parrot Head Clubs collectively raised for and/or donated to charitable organizations over $2.7 million. Additionally, chapters worldwide donated approximately 663,543 man-hours to philanthropic activities. A new club is starting in our area and if anyone is interested, contact Stephen Mitchell in Fletcher at email@example.com or call me for further details. There is also a group in Oklahoma City called the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Assocation. Their website is http://www.copa-nut.com/ if you want more info on this chapter. I hope everyone has a chance to do something like this with family and friends at least once a year and has the chance to help with some philanthropic project. The time you take to do things like this is returned tenfold with the good feelings associated with time with friends working towards a good cause.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is http://www.joedorman.com/ on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.