Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

February 26, 2013

State bills to watch

OKLAHOMA CITY —  “A government  that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” — George Bernard Shaw 

Last week ended on a snowy, slushy note as the House convened to finish the third week of the session. We only have one more week to go before hitting the first of our deadline weeks, marking the point where all committee work for legislation originating  in the House must be completed.
The legislature now knows how much money we have to work with and Oklahoma will see a slight increase in available funds. As a result, many of my colleagues and I will continue to fight to restore funds to core state services and remedy the drastic cuts  our state agencies have undergone in recent years. Interestingly, I have noticed time and again the ways in which many legislators have proposed to make up for the lost revenues in these same core services. Bill after bill making its way through House Committees increases fees, robbing Peter to pay Paul.  For example, one proposed fee increase would double the cost of a disability fishing license. Another imposes “a processing fee of not more than Five Dollars…per controlled hunt.” Yet another eliminates the non-resident five-day hunting license. Another  bill allows the District Attorney to charge a fee of up to $40 a month for the duration of a probationary period. 
This week, the House will hear yet again a plan to cut the state income tax. Meanwhile, the Common Education committee passed a bill that repeals the Fund Education First law and eliminates the requirement for full-day kindergarten. So rather than helping  schools maintain full service, some of my colleagues propose to give education the same amount of money as last year, asking for a cut in services instead.  Noteworthy legislation passing  out of committees last week:

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Our View
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    Industrial Wind Energy is expected to receive $193 million in annual subsidies, yet education continues to suffer.

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    Hailey Mathis is studying political science and history at the University of Oklahoma. She’s one of a very select group of college students each year who have the opportunity to learn about government and public service through an internship at the State Senate.  

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    An ill-advised legislative plan to drain $30 million a year from state highway funds to bolster school spending will soon be considered in the House and Senate. 

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  • Financial protection for children in foster care

    It has been a pleasure to work with Senator Sean Burrage for the past 8 years.  Always a trusted colleague and ally in the Senate side, I’ve been honored to carry some of his legislation in the House of Representatives.

    April 21, 2014

  • Burrage, Sean.jpg Senate Review

    I can’t imagine that there would be very many politicians who would say they didn’t think public education was important.  I’m sure if you polled the legislature, 100 percent would say it’s a top priority.  But it’s one thing to talk the talk—it’s another to walk the walk.  

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sherrerBenweb.jpg Public Education:  The vine must be watered

    Monday’s rally for public education was the single most exciting event I’ve had the opportunity to experience in my 10 years in the legislature.  

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kim Dabney Autistic in Oklahoma

    Since the 1970’s, April hosts Autism Awareness Month to highlight the fastest growing epidemics of our time. Just last week, the Center for Disease Control announced a startling statistic, 1 in 68 children are suffering with autism.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kim Dabney Autism awareness did not save Avonte

    Every April since the 1970’s due to an abruptly rising condition in children across the country, we observe Autism Awareness Month.  According to government figures, the rapid increase in autism, unheard of prior to the 1940’s, skyrocketed from 1 in 10,000 children to the latest estimates of 1 in 68.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Randy Cowling John D. Williams: Claremore’s Progressive Citizen of the Year

    There are few opportunities to make choices that will guide the future direction of our lives, let alone the impact on our community.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

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