OKLAHOMA CITY — Only weeks into his first term in the Oklahoma State Senate, District 2 Senator Sean Burrage has been named to co-chair what may prove to be one of the most pivotal committees in the State Senate — the Senate Rules Committee.
Burrage, a Claremore Democrat, will share leadership of the Rules Committee with Republican Senator Mike Schulz, Altus.
“In a divided Senate, Senator Burrage will be in a unique position to make history as the first senator to ever co-chair this powerful Senate committee,” President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said. “This guy continues to impress me with his passion for serving the people of this great state, and for that reason I know he will do an outstanding job leading this committee in the Oklahoma State Senate.”
Morgan explained the Senate Rules Committee will be the first stop for significant legislation in the legislative process and will play an even more powerful role under the power sharing agreement between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
As a result of the Nov. 7 elections, the Senate is now tied with 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans. As part of a power-sharing agreement announced by the leaders last week, each committee will be headed by co-chairs—one from each party—and every committee will have an equal number of Republican and Democratic members.
In his role on the Rules Committee, Burrage could very well find himself dealing with some of the state’s most controversial and highest profile legislation
during the coming year.
“Of course, we don’t know at this point what legislation we will be dealing with,” Burrage said, but he believes with an equal number of Democrat and Republican senators it will be more important than ever for legislators to lay the bitter partisan rhetoric of the campaign season to the side and concentrate on working together.
Under the power sharing agreement, Co-President Pro Tempores Morgan and Glenn Coffee will assign legislation to each committee. However, if the two leaders cannot agree upon where to send the legislation, it will be directed to the Rules Committee where Burrage and Schulz will decide whether or not the measure continues through the legislative process.
Burrage said he is honored to co-chair the Senate Rules Committee. He will also serve on Senate committees on Business and Labor, the Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Energy Committee as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Social Services.
“As I walked door to door visiting with the people in Rogers and Mayes Counties, it became crystal clear that Oklahomans want their legislators to fight for affordable healthcare, better paying jobs and excellence in education,” Burrage said. “Serving as co-chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and sitting on these important committees will give me the opportunity to do my part to make Oklahoma the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
“Oklahomans are clearly ready for their legislators to take a moderate approach to governing and in the Senate that is exactly what will happen with an equal number of senators from both sides of the aisle,” the Senator said. “Legislators, above everything else, are Oklahomans, and are at our best when we are united for a common cause. I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead as we begin the First Session of the 51st Legislature.”