Friday, June 5, 2009

Senator Gumm's "Senate Minute" for June 5-11, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hello again, everybody! As the dust continues to settle after the 2009 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, political observers are looking at how this year was different.

A new majority party took control and the big question was how members would respond to their new roles. What should never change are the fundamental principles that guide individual senators.

Throughout the session, I was far less concerned with partisan issues than I was with getting things done for my district and our state. That approach, and the fierceness with which I tackle specific issues, will never change so long as I have the opportunity to serve as your senator.

While there still are a few bills awaiting the governor’s signature, nine of the bills I sponsored in the Senate have become law. While that is a relatively large number to make it through the process, a number of bills I sponsored fell by the wayside – most often in the House of Representatives – due to partisan politics.

As many of you who have followed my legislative career know, I look for ways around roadblocks placed before me – especially when it comes to issues affecting the safety of our children. My proposal to prevent sex offenders from operating ice cream trucks is an example.

When a House committee chair refused to allow the bill a hearing, I amended one of his bills to include it. When that committee chair stripped the language out of his bill, I worked with other senators and representatives to attach the language to a bill he could not control.

The result is a bill is now on the governor’s desk that includes language prohibiting sex offenders from operating ice cream trucks. I simply refuse to accept “no” for an answer when it comes to bills I believe will improve the quality of life for Oklahomans or make our children safer.

While nine of the bills I sponsored became law, another 12 bills passed the Legislature that included provisions I had originally introduced as stand-alone bills. There are many ways to kill a bill; the key to enacting good proposals often is to find a way around the many traps that can ensnare even a good idea.

An example of that is the passage of a bill that originally was my proposal to create an “In God We Trust” license plate. The House of Representatives first killed that proposal in 2008.

This year, my bill became the specialty license plate bill; it includes a number of special plates, including the “In God We Trust” tag. Late last month, the governor signed it into law.

In the legislative process, persistence can pay very big dividends for the people we serve. That is why the only way to truly fail is to give up – and that is something I will never do.

Thanks again for reading “The Senate Minute.” Have a great week, and may God bless you all.

No comments: