I hope everyone had a warm weekend with the weather that blew in. I know several of the sporting events and meetings in the area had to be cancelled due to road conditions. I got to see some great basketball this weekend and I got to see several friends at the Lawton Public School Elementary Principal meeting and the REAP check presentations for Caddo and Grady Counties . We also had a very nice fundraiser to benefit Michelle Watson on Saturday night. Should you wish to make a donation to assist her, there is an account is set up at First National Bank & Trust at the Chickasha and Cyril branches.
Another meeting that occurred this past weekend was between me, Democratic Leader Danny Morgan and members of the State Career Tech staff. We discussed opportunities that could benefit businesses in our area with additional training for students that would place them in immediate employment. This is a fantastic program that is available and I hope we will see some educational opportunities awaiting welders in Southwest Oklahoma .
On Monday, the House passed HR 1051 which establishes a committee to study and investigate the actions of Jeff McMahan, the State Auditor and Inspector. This was unanimous except for the absence of one member from the floor at the time of the vote. The committee will now meet to review evidence and see if there is further action that should be taken towards an impeachment. This will likely take some time to review all the facts before a vote will occur.
Last Friday, another piece of legislation that was of importance to the state was heard on the House floor. HB 3111 by Ron Peterson, R-Tulsa, would provide that any future insurance mandate passed by the legislature would require it to sit over for a minimum of two years, have an actuarial study paid for by an outside source to see how much insurance costs would rise and if passed within one year, require a 75% vote of the legislature rather than the simple majority. This bill, an attempt to reduce required coverage of such things as autism, colorectal screenings and assistance for Phenylketonuria (PKU), was passed 53 to 46. Two Republicans crossed over to join all 44 Democrats in voting against this bill.
I debated against this bill on several points. This legislation takes away the authority of legislators to determine in a year if one of these mandates is necessary. It is also under the assumption that we cannot make a decision that is not emotional on the subject of mandates. Another point is that an actuarial study done by an outside source (usually the insurance company) will not be unbiased as would something prepared by our House Staff.
Another argument we heard that I disagree with is generally businesses would be opposed to these mandates. I think most businesses would want these screenings to make sure an employee is healthy and on the job, and if something is detected, it will be caught early and less time would be required for missing work. The final point I stand by is that I personally feel some of these health screenings should be covered by insurance to catch and prevent life-threatening illnesses.
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 home number for work is 1-580-476-2626. 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 www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.