Appreciating Teachers, Finalizing Bills

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

While improving education remains a pertinent goal of our state government, I am more than pleased with the progress and continued excellence amongst schools in House District 59. Much of that success is due to our teachers. In addition to this week’s legislative update, I want to take the time to thank our hard-working educators as they are recognized during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Legislators have begun work in conference committees. The Department of Human Services bills will require significant attention during this stage of the process. Conference committees are made up of both Senate and House members, but only the House half of the meetings are conducted in public with advance notice. On the Senate side, deliberation is less formal. The only requirement for Senate conferees is the collection of signatures to approve bills before they are again heard on the floor.

My legislation to protect children from registered sex offenders was approved in conference committee and will be available for consideration on the floor next week. House Bill 3049 prohibits a registered sex offender whose victim was a minor child from residing with any minor child. The exception is if the offender is a parent, stepparent or grandparent of the child and the child was not the offender’s victim.

The governor has signed a number of bills into law. House Bill 2566 bans assisted living centers from penalizing residents for using their choice of providers for medical services and supplies. This law is of great importance to our district. It will prevent the residents of assisted living centers in our communities from being penalized. Also signed into law, House Bill 2296 protects anyone providing shelter during a time of severe weather from frivolous lawsuits. This legislation will encourage business owners and other individuals who might offer a place of shelter during a tornado or ice storm the ability to do so without fear of being sued. Senate Bill 1096 directs all state agencies and higher education institutions to achieve an energy efficiency and conservation improvement target of at least 20 percent by the year 2020. Estimates indicate that savings to the state could range from $300 to $500 million over 10 years.

The Oklahoma Commission for Human Services has narrowed its search for a new director down to two candidates. Eric Bost is a former U.S. ambassador to South Africa. He also served as commissioner and CEO of the Texas Department of Human Services from 1997 to 2001. Ed Lake worked for the Tennessee Department of Human Services for 39 years and retired as a deputy commissioner in 2011. Both appear to be qualified candidates for the position.

Lastly, the state Senate committee made Oklahoma history, confirming judicial nominees for the State Workers’ Compensation Court for the first time. The four new judges are Margaret Bomhoff of Edmond, Michael McGivern of Tulsa, Carla Snipes of Oklahoma City and L. Bradley Taylor of Tulsa. If confirmed by the full Senate, each will serve an eight-year term.

I would like to again thank our teachers for the support and guidance they provide for our youth. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.