House Republican Caucus Unveils Agenda

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

House Republicans recently highlighted tax reform, Department of Human Services reform, pension reform and government modernization as top priorities for the 2012 legislative session. House leaders also touched on supporting public safety, ensuring our water rights are maintained, and protecting constitutional rights and traditional values.

House Republicans also plan to eliminate tax credits that are not performing and further reduce the income tax rate, according to the House appropriations and budget chairman.

I am pleased to see DHS reform listed among the top priorities going into this year. Not only are lawmakers concerned about the agency, but newspapers continue to add their two cents about what is wrong with the agency and what should be done to fix it. A recent editorial in The Oklahoman called for the resignation of DHS Director Howard Hendrick, pointing out that while he has improved certain functions of the agency, it is time for a clean slate, in light of all the agency’s recent problems. I agree that big change is best implemented by a fresh face. He is among those that must accept responsibility for the agency’s crazy organizational chart and its “re-unification” at all costs policy, two of the problems I plan to push lawmakers to reform. I want accountability put back in this agency. Our children deserve it. Oklahomans demand it.

In recent days, a significant workers’ compensation bill has been filed. Senate Bill 1174 would authorize the attorney general to hire fraud investigators to examine workers compensation claims. Fraud is a problem that plagues all government-run systems and I fully support careful scrutiny of these claims.

Lastly, I want to congratulate Hennessey High School. They were among an elite group receiving the Oklahoma ACT Council’s 2011 College Readiness Award. What an honor!

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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