Senate receives House bills

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

House lawmakers have completed work on House bills and now they are in the hands of our colleagues in the Oklahoma Senate. I want to highlight some of the bills I think will go through without a hitch, including a special education teacher pay raise, two Speaker’s bills and my own legislation to increase the funding available for major county road and bridge thoroughfares in rural areas.

House Bill 1233, by one of our Western Oklahoma lawmakers, would require the Oklahoma Board of Education to issue a one-year provisional certificate to special education teachers who work with students with mild-moderate or severe-profound disabilities. Teachers who work specifically with autism, emotional disturbances or severe-profound disabilities would receive a 10-percent pay raise, under the bill.

House Bill 1909, by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, would require able-bodied, childless individuals receiving food stamps to spend more time working towards a career through education or other activities. Basically, the idea is to get people back to work.

House Bill 1914, also by Speaker Shannon, would place a moratorium on all agencies and prohibit them from creating new fees Oklahomans pay to state agencies for services through January 1, 2016. This measure would stop the rampant rises in fees, which have increased by $113 million since 2007. Fees charged by an agency will also be required to include a fee justification statement. Fees required by federal law or due directly to inflation will be exempt from the legislation.

My bill, House Bill 1080, would redirect 5 percent of the motor vehicle collection tax to pay for major collector roads. These roads connect communities highways and industries and make up a total of 15,000 miles of county road. Many of these collector roads have been devastated by natural disasters, ranging from floods, snow, ice and tornadoes. FEMA does not pay for the repairs and county budgets are already maxed out. I have talked to my colleagues in the Senate and told them how critical it is for them to now send this bill to the governor.

I look forward to talking to you about the progress of these four bills and the ongoing budget discussions taking place.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at (405) 557-7407 or emails me at mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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