By Rep. Mike Sanders
This week, I voted in support of House Bill 1549, which creates the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2017 that would prohibit abortion solely based on the unborn child being diagnosed with either Down syndrome or a genetic abnormality or who has the potential for a genetic abnormality. The bill passed the House with a vote of 67-16 and now heads to the state Senate.
I have always been a staunch supporter of life and have a 100 percent voting record of supporting pro-life legislation. Our unborn are the most defenseless of our citizens. I will always do all I can to protect them. I understand that women sometimes face surprise or even unwanted pregnancies. I will do all I can to support them, but we must end the murder of our unborn.
In the meantime, budget negotiations are ongoing. House budget leaders, including myself, are meeting with state agencies to determine funding needs and to encourage greater efficiencies. We also are continuing to evaluate underperforming and non-performing state assets as well as tax credits and incentives as we work toward crafting next year’s budget.
Several measures in the House this week moved gross production tax apportionments from off-the-top earmarks into specified funds within the General Revenue Fund. This measure gives the Legislature a greater role in appropriating this funding. When House Speaker Charles McCall met earlier this year with national bonding agencies, they indicated the state’s credit rating would be downgraded in part because of the portion of the state’s revenue that is unavailable for appropriating. These measures help the state start to correct that problem but still allow us to meet priorities such as transportation and education funding.
Recently, I sent my annual You Speak I Listen survey to constituents throughout my district asking you to give me your thoughts on pending measures before the House. I’ve received a number of responses; I would love to see more. I don’t represent me at the state Capitol; I represent you. I use these responses to help guide me in voting on or drafting new legislation. Remember to sign your name and include contact information if you would like to hear back from me.
Unfortunately, I must deal with some unsavory news released over the past week of a state senator accused of engaging in despicable behavior. This embarrasses the state and all lawmakers who are working hard on your behalf. I’m thankful the senate took quick action to strip this person of his office, his vice chair position and all of his committees. He resigned Wednesday. Legislative efforts should now be taken to disqualify him from any state pension.
On one final note, this week is the deadline for all bills originating in the House to be considered in the House and the same for Senate bills. Next week, committees will resume considering bills from the opposite legislative chamber.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or(405) 557-7407.