Friday, March 6, 2009

Open Door Policy - March 3, 2009

My legislative schedule has been lightened quite a bit over the last week as House Republican committee chairmen have refused to grant hearings to most of my bills. These bills will be carried over until next year and I will try again. The status of my bills currently is as follows:

*HB 1654 - Grocery Store/Pharmacy incentive bill - refused a hearing in committee;

*HB 1655 - Children's Cabinet - refused a hearing in committee, but a similar Senate bill passed unanimously by the Senate and could be heard by the House;

*HB 1656 - Fire hydrant maintenance - passed out of committee, awaiting a floor hearing;

*HB 1657 - Deceased employees insurance benefits - I pulled this bill due to the need for more information;

*HB 1658 - Doctor's incentive for volunteering at school functions - refused a hearing in committee;

*HB 1659 - Utility Terrain Vehicles use on county roads - refused a hearing in committee;

*HB 1660 - Alternative energy tax credits - refused a hearing in committee; and

*HJR 1018 - Emergency management funding constitutional amendment - was placed on a committee agenda, then removed by the House leadership; and

*HB 1918 - 4-H/FFA tax exemption on premium checks - refused a hearing in committee. Obviously, I am very frustrated, but I will continue to work with the House leadership to try to get hearings on these bills for next year. I also have other issues in the works and will continue work on those, along with amending other bills in attempt to make them better. HB 1661 creates a tax check-off on tax returns to allow donations to YMCA Youth & Government programs and it is up for a floor hearing, along with HB 1662 which would allow police officers to issue tickets to individuals who are playing pornographic movies in their vehicles. Both of these bills were authored by colleagues and I will assist them with moving through the process.

I was honored this past week by the Oklahoma Rural Fire Coordinators for my efforts to assist them and the state with fire protection issues. I was a great privilege to be recognized by this group and I can't thank them enough for their service to assist our local fire fighters.

Congratulations to all the teams who have been progressing through the basketball tournaments and good luck to those still playing! I was able to watch one game this weekend back home. I also attended the Children's Starlight fundraiser, which raises money annually for the children's wing at Comanche Memorial Hospital. I also enjoyed attending the Chickasha Chamber banquet and the Lawton Chamber luncheon, along with recording a blog for while I was at home.

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 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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