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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