Thursday, March 13, 2008

Open Door Policy - March 11, 2008

I'm happy to report that House Bill 3081, my legislation that defines the premium checks for 4-H and FFA students passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 96 to 4. This defines the check as a scholarship which provides that state and federal taxes would be exempted on this and it is no longer considered income. I appreciate the calls and letters that many of you sent to legislators on behalf of this bill and expect that it will pass the Senate and become law this year. I'm not certain yet on if this will exempt the checks for this year or we will have to wait until next year for this to kick in.

Two of my other bills are scheduled for floor action. The bill setting standards for boating safety and my updates on Tax Increment Financing will both be heard this week in session. Two other issues that I was pursuing will now have to be heard as amendments. I'm running resolutions to create two different task forces to deal with issues that have been brought to me. One is setting a group to discuss reintegration facilities and corrections issues that would lend to prisoners not returning to a life of crime. Another assembles experts to look at incentives to get medical personnel to attend secondary school athletic events and provide "good Samaritan" assistance in case there is an injury. Both these resolutions should be heard in two weeks.

This is the last week we will hear House bills under our deadline. Anything not brought up will not receive action this year. Several issues I presented will have to wait until next year since there are rules in place that prevent amendments that pertain to similar issues seen in bills that failed. I will keep working on those issues and I appreciate your input. I also am thankful for all the surveys that have been returned to my office. I'm going over each of them in the evenings after session.

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 at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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