Saturday, March 20, 2010

Open Door Policy - March 15, 2010

We finished the deadline week this past Thursday in the State Legislature and saw many bills make it to the exchange point for each body. I had six of my bills pass the House and go to the Senate this session. The House will now consider Senate legislation and the Senate will work on House legislation. We also have many carry-over bills from the previous year which could possibly see some action. Two I have from the Senate are:
SB 697 – Creating a Children’s Cabinet to force state entities who work on children’s issues to meet quarterly to discuss policies and hopefully avoid duplication of services; and
SB 859 – A bill to allow for modification of benefits status for teachers’ retirement upon the marriage of an individual if the marriage occurs after the initial enrollment.
There are several ideas which I will work with House authors to amend Senate bills to consider several subjects which have arisen since the bill filing deadline. I will keep you posted on the progress of these ideas. I will also be working on the various bills I sent over to the Senate with my authors to make sure the bills progress through the process. Each bill and resolution going through the process (except for simple resolutions) will require an author from both the House and the Senate. If the bills cannot be passed by both bodies with the exact same language, then a conference committee will meet to work out the differences. We will also try to finish up the budget process for FY-11 prior to the May deadline.
It was a busy time outside the Capitol last week also. I made a trip back home during the session to visit the Friend Fire Department annual pie auction. They raised around $10,000 to support the operations of their department over the next year. It is also not too late to donate to them or any of the volunteer departments in your area as they need the additional funds with the upcoming budget cuts at the Capitol. We also saw various guests stop by the session, including the Leadership Lawton 2010 program and the AP English II Class from Elgin . On Thursday following session, I was honored to be the keynote speaker to the Canadian Valley Career Tech Honor Society induction at their Chickasha campus, and I also attended the Rural Electric Cooperative Firefighter Appreciation Dinner in Lindsay. On Friday, I was a guest on Larry Stein’s radio show out of OKC, I taped Kelly Poolaw’s radio show in Anadarko for the Sunday airing, I was on OETA discussing meningitis immunizations from the outbreak in Oologah and I also visited with a Public Administration Class at UCO (one of my alma maters) about government jobs and legislation affecting public entities, along with attending the Speaker’s Ball, an event which raised money for the Regional Food Bank. We also celebrated the birthday of Don McKay of Rush Springs on Saturday with several of the family members and I attended the basketball tournament fundraiser for the Rush Springs little league baseball team and watched some of my high school classmates show they haven’t slowed down since high school (It’s hard to type sarcastically in a column as a couple of them were hobbling around that night after the game). I did rest on Sunday so I would be ready to go this week, even though it will be a slow time at the Capitol. It is also tough adjusting to the time change, and I know that is something we will look at as states are allowed the option of eliminating Daylight Savings Time.
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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