The legislative session is just a few weeks from wrapping up for the year and work continues on finalizing the budget and considering measures as we move through the legislative process. By law, we must have a budget in place before we adjourn in late May and it appears we are on schedule to meet that deadline.
Negotiators are very close to reaching a budget agreement. Senate Republicans have prioritized putting more money in Oklahoma classrooms and negotiations continue on how to best make that happen. The House and Governor have indicated their support for another teacher pay increase, and talks continue between the Senate, the House and the governor’s office to find common ground and reach an overall budget agreement, but the bottom line is, we expect there will be a significant investment in common education.
The legislature made some tough decisions last year to generate the revenue to provide the largest teacher pay raise in state history and now the benefits of those decisions are reaping rewards. Per the latest NEA national rankings, Oklahoma jumped 15 spots, advancing from #48 to #34 in average teacher pay, per the latest NEA national rankings. This reflects an average Oklahoma salary of $52, 412, or a 13.2% increase. This jump is encouraging, and when you factor in the low cost of living in Oklahoma, it becomes the 11th highest in the nation and #1 in the region in teacher pay.
This past Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. It is my prayer that we celebrate and be thankful for the blessings of life, and that as Christians, we uphold the biblical truths in God’s Word. I pray the Lord calls his church to love one another so we can call our nation to love and pray for unity on the National Day of Prayer and in the future. I also pray for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government to value one another, respect one another, and work together for the good of our state and nation.
Also this week, I had the honor of hosting the Chaplains of the Day, who opened the session each day with a prayer. Chaplains Bret McGuire and Chad Choat of Claremore First Baptist Church in Claremore, as well as Chaplain John Ray of Destiny Life Church in Claremore and Pastor Paul Walvoord of Catoosa Church of Christ served this week.
If you have any questions about state government or concerns about legislation, please do not hesitate to contact my Senate office at the Capitol by calling (405) 521-5555 or writing to me at Senator Marty Quinn, 2300 North Lincoln Blvd. Rm. 419, State Capitol Building, Oklahoma City, OK 73105. I can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.