Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The week has been picking up with the consideration of more bills on the House floor and more of the controversial bills being heard in the committees. I expect we will be spending some longer hours considering bills during the full House of Representatives sessions each day as we approach our second six-week deadline.
With my legislation coming over from the Senate, I have yet to have a hearing on a bill. I have bills dealing with the creation of a children's cabinet, a restriction to prevent sex offenders from working on ice cream trucks and a bill to modify restrictions on selecting programs within teachers retirement should marital status change. The one piece of legislation heard so far is the resolution that selects the state rock song. This helps promote the exhibit established through the Oklahoma History Center to honor that genre and performers here in our state.
There was a rally regarding Senate Bill 834 at the capitol where I was asked to speak in opposition to this bill. This would deregulate the local schools as far as allowing districts to set class size and hire teachers without certification. I have received more emails on this bill than any other this session and feel it will set a bad policy, especially in these severe budget times. I support local control, but not at the expense of quality education. This bill will be considered in committee this week.
Another issue which I am trying to assist with is Health Choice, the state insurance group, not processing claims in a timely manner for their medical providers. Apparently, EDS, the group which is the claims processor for Health Choice, is drastically behind on reimbursements to medical and dental providers, therefore causing many to take out loans to keep their businesses running. Several legislators are requesting action through legislative or legal means to bring these accounts current and hold EDS accountable for these actions. I will continue to work with Reps. Doug Cox and Cory Williams on this issue.
I had many visitors stop by the capitol this past week. I was honored to see Jag Sodhi of Lavender Valley Acres and Pete McDaniel and Paul Jackson of American Farmers and Ranchers visit on Conservation Day. I also had the Elgin 4-H stop by the House and I was able to visit with them for about an hour and answer questions about the legislative process. Canadian Valley Career Tech's leadership class also took a tour of the capitol and I was able to visit with them while on their visit.
Finally, I wish to extend a "thank you" to Carolyn Doyle and Chad Hagermann for serving as office aides for me at the Capitol. They did a fantastic job and helped me a great deal. Chad was also participating in a program established by State School Superintendent Sandy Garrett to reduce drop-out rates on students. Both of these Elgin High School students are fantastic leaders and are heavily involved in school activities. I was honored to have them work at the House of Representatives.
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.

Photo Cutline: Carrie Doyle and Chad Hagermann at the State Capitol with Rep. Joe Dorman

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