Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Open Door Policy - Dec. 1, 2009

As we approach 2010, we see several deadlines for the legislature beginning to unfold. The date for requesting ideas for potential legislation falls this month and I am working on several different ideas, but will only file eight as that is our limit. I will also be pursuing consideration of the eight bills I filed last session as they are still "alive" in the legislative process. Some of these bills creating a Children's Cabinet to look at children's issues in the state, fire hydrant servicing and creating incentives for doctors to volunteer at school sporting events and for veterans organizations.
On Monday, I had the pleasure of attending a ceremony at Cox's Corner Fire Department to honor Al Dreves, the fire chief for the department. This honor was bestowed upon him by the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments to recognize Al as the Firefighter of the Year for ASCOG. Al has made sure his firefighters continue their training and has every person in the department at Firefighter 1 level. Al also was the chief for both my nephews when they graduated high school and joined that department. Both of them are in the Army and one wants to become a paramedic, while the other wants to continue being a firefighter. I appreciate Al for being a good influence on them and all the others who have come through that department. This award was very well deserved!
This Tuesday, we hosted an interim study at the State Capitol reviewing Tax Increment Financing districts throughout Oklahoma. The study focused on how many TIF districts are currently in existence and the ramifications on each area, both positive and negative, to see if there is a better way to implement these districts. I will look at legislation to outline better reporting on these districts this upcoming session. TIF districts provide a great economic boost to many areas of the state, but they must be implemented responsibly.
We were notified this week the House Appropriations & Budget Committee will begin reviewing state agency budgets. The Senate began this process a few weeks ago, so I am comparing notes with several Senators to look for ways to deal with our inevitable budget cuts. This committee will have much work to do and I am happy Speaker Benge felt confident in my abilities and allowed me to serve on this committee.
In January, I will be co-hosting a meeting in Norman at the National Weather Center with Rep. Gus Blackwell to look into another one of my bills. We are pulling together some of the best minds in Oklahoma to discuss emergency management funding and this will be free to all participants. We hope to come up with a better system to fund the 12.5 percent match required of the state to pay for disasters declared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). We are still putting together the definite schedule, but we hope to include national emergency response officials; local state, county and municipal officials; non-profit entities affected by disaster funding and also other elected officials. If you would like more information, please contact my office for details.
I will be out of touch for a few days this weekend, so please contact Pam in my office should you need assistance with an issue. I'm having surgery on a deviated septum and the doctor thinks I will be down for about three days. I broke my nose in college and have gone almost twenty years with 70 percent blockage without realizing the problems. The doctor thinks my health will improve greatly after this surgery, so keep your fingers crossed. This is also another good reason why it is best to have regular check-ups with the doctor and to tell them about any problems.
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 joedorman@okhouse.gov 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.

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