Sanders Comments on National Hunting and Fishing Day

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Sanders issued the following statement about the 46th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD), to be observed Sept. 22 this year. Sanders is co-chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and member of the 48-state National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses.

“Hunting and angling have long been a part of Oklahoma’s heritage,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “I am proud to join Oklahoma sportsmen and women who will participating in this national celebration and helping to pass the love of these traditions to future generations. The men and women who hunt Oklahoma lands and fish Oklahoma’s lakes, rivers and streams are not just interested in pursuing these sports for their own benefit, they also are the main contributors to our state’s conservation efforts.”

Sanders said he’s encouraged that Oklahoma hunters and anglers are passing down their love of their sports to their children and others so future generations can enjoy these traditions as well as participate in the preservation of our state and nation’s natural resources.

More information on National Hunting and Fishing Day is available at or on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation website at



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State Question Will Ask Voters to Weigh in on Victims’ Rights

By Rep. Mike Sanders

Gov. Mary Fallin earlier this summer signed an election proclamation placing State Question 794 on the ballot for the general election Nov. 6.

If approved, the question, also known as Marsy’s Law or the Victim’s Bill of Rights, would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to provide certain rights for crime victims, such as expanding the court proceedings at which victims have the right to be heard and being notified of the defendant's release or escape from custody.

The question is the result of Senate Joint Resolution 46, which Oklahoma lawmakers passed during the 2017 regular legislative session.

The measure is named after Marsalee (Marsy) Nichols, a University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after she was killed, the victim’s family ran into her accused murder not knowing he had been released on bail because California’s courts at that time had not obligation to keep them informed. Marsy’s brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas became the key backer of the law, which is now being pursued in states nationwide.

In addition to the rights detailed above, the Oklahoma ballot measure states that it also would allow crime victims to be protected in a manner equal to the defendant's rights, including:

  • adding a right to reasonable protection;
  • adding a right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay;
  • adding a right to talk with the prosecutor; and
  • allowing victims to refuse interview requests from the defendant's attorney without a subpoena.

The language in the ballot title that voters will see explains: “The Oklahoma Constitution currently grants victims' rights to crime victims and their family members. This measure would instead grant these rights to crime victims and those directly harmed by the crime. Victims would no longer have a constitutional right to know the defendant's location following arrest, during prosecution, and while sentenced to confinement or probation, but would have the right to be notified of the defendant's release or escape from custody.

“Under this measure, victims would have these rights in both adult and juvenile proceedings. Victims would be able to assert these rights in court, and the court would be required to act promptly.”

Oklahoma voters in November will get to vote yes or no on this proposed question.

Meanwhile, if I can do anything to help you, I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or (405) 557-7407.

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Interim Studies Give Opportunity for Deeper Dive into Issues

By Rep. Mike Sanders

House Speaker Charles McCall approved 31 interim studies for the House this year. Fifty-seven studies were requested by various representatives. Two studies were withdrawn by their authors; leaving 55 to stand alone or be combined by topic into one study. Each study has been assigned to a House standing committee. It will be up to the committee chair to schedule the studies, which generally are held August through October.

Interim studies give lawmakers more time to examine issues brought by constituents, state agency heads or other groups or even ideas which they themselves are considering making into law. It gives us time to bring in outside experts and ask questions so we know all sides of an issue, the pros and cons, before we proceed with drafting legislation.

The legislative session operates on a compressed schedule that begins with a flurry and maintains the hectic pace for 120 days. The more than 3,000 bills filed on average annually face tight deadlines – when they must be filed, be heard in committee, be heard in the chamber of origin and then be heard in the opposite chamber before being sent to the governor to be signed into law.

This is why interim studies are helpful. They happen at a slower time of the year, when the Capitol is not as packed, and they give lawmakers and the public more time to work through any undesired consequences of potential legislation with experts on hand to answer questions.

Here's a quick look at a few of the studies that have piqued my interest so far and the committees which will consider each issue:

  • A look at moving full-time Oklahoma deputy sheriffs from a defined contribution retirement plan to a defined benefit retirement plan; Banking and Business.
  • A look at Oklahoma State employees' health benefit allowances; Insurance.
  • A study on safety and security in public schools; Common Education.
  • A combined study of Oklahoma's underperforming schools and the effectiveness of turnaround models being utilized in Oklahoma and other states, and addressing issues to aid in improving the effectiveness in public education; Common Education.
  • A combined study on state fees on municipal surface transportation program grants and the governor’s Oklahoma United We Ride Council; Transportation.
  • A look at how DHS has allocated and used federal funds given to OK. What state funds are for improving Child Care, both number served and quality of care; Children, Youth and Family Services.

The public is welcome to attend any of the studies. You also are welcome to send me any questions or opinions you have about any study.

Use this link to see a full list of the House interim studies for this year: A few studies already have times, dates and committee rooms assigned. Others will appear on the calendar as they are scheduled.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or (405) 557-7407.

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Tourism Opportunities Abound in NW Oklahoma

By Rep. Mike Sanders

In the few weeks before school starts, I thought it might be fun to write about some of the tourism opportunities we have in Northwest Oklahoma. Whether it’s a day hike, some fishing or overnight camping, there are plenty of things to do in our area that don’t involve a great deal of cost or even much travel time.

I know my favorite spots in the Northwest part of the state, but I also sought some suggestions from Leslie Blair at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. She, in turn, gathered some information from the state Department of Tourism & Recreation. Following is a list of our combined ideas.

Roman Nose State Park near Watonga has everything from pristine views of canyons and mesas to wide open fields of buffalo grass and wild blue sage, not to mention the refreshing waters of Lake Watonga. You can hike the trails or fish or boat. You can swim in the pool; rent canoes, kayaks or paddle boats; ride horses or mountain bikes; play golf; camp out or stay in the lodge or a cabin.

Boiling Springs State Park in Woodward is another beautiful place to visit. Of course, the highlight of the park is the natural “boiling” spring that still flows. Visit the interpretive center for more information about the spring and the wildlife on view at the park. Camp, RV or stay in a cabin; hike three different trails; swim in the pool; or just enjoy a picnic for the day.

If you’re looking for something literally cool to do, visit Alabaster Caverns State Park near Freedom. The three-quarter-mile cavern is formed of alabaster, a rare form of gypsum, and is the world’s largest natural gypsum cave that is open to the public. Once inside the cavern, you’ll be able to see the interesting gypsum formations as well as bats that take up residence in the cool dark environment. Guided tours of the cave are conducted daily on the hour, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of three or more can request a permit through Sept. 30 to go wild caving. You’ll need to bring your own gear, including three light sources per spelunker, hard hats or bicycle helmets, long sleeves and water. There are also a few hiking trails at the park.

The Great Salt Plains State Park near Jet is another fun family adventure. Through Oct. 15, you can dig for selenite crystals, or you can watch for many of the migratory birds that use the nearby wildlife refuge as a stopping place. The refuge is comprised of salt left over from an ocean that covered Oklahoma in prehistoric times, and the saltwater lake in the park, Great Salt Plains Lake, is said to be about half as salty as the ocean. Visitors can hike or bike on trails or bring your horses to ride. You can fish at the lake. The cabins also have been newly renovated, and there are tent and RV campsites available if you want to check into staying a night or two.

For additional outings, you could visit the sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park or Beaver Dunes Park near Waynoka, or take in the beauty and the history of the Black Kettle Recreation Area near Cheyenne

Visiting our state parks and taking advantage of the amenities they have to offer is a wonderful way to enjoy our great state. 

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or (405) 557-7407.


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Welcome Back to a New School Year

By Rep. Mike Sanders

Schools across our district are opening doors to new and returning students over the next several weeks. Some have already started classes; others are busy still enrolling students, hosting parent nights, administering physicals and vaccines and more as children, parents, teachers, administrators and staff gear up for a new school year.

I encourage everyone to be on the lookout for school zones and school buses as you travel so we can keep our kiddos safe. Also, for those of you with children returning to school, please ask your child’s teacher what you can do as a parent to make their lives easier this school year. Teachers working in collaboration with parents equal successful students.

This year, teachers statewide received a pay raise that went into effect Aug. 1. This puts beginning year Oklahoma teachers among the highest pay rates in the region and all teachers at the 12th highest pay in the nation when cost of living is factored. Even teachers who already make above the state minimum salary schedule will get a raise. Raises are based upon years of experience and level of degree.

The two most important people in every school building are the student and the teacher. First, is the student. Our entire future hinges on how well we educate our children. We must ensure that each child that enters our public education system receives the teaching and skills they need to advance to the next grade level and eventually into higher learning and out into the work force. We also must assure that our students become good citizens who are willing to contribute positively to our communities so future generations can continue to enjoy our American way of life.

Aside from a parent, a teacher is often the most influential role model in a child’s life. They are the ones who can instill a love of learning and adapt to the individual needs of each child’s learning style. They are the ones who see the needs of each child and can gather additional resources to help ensure a child’s success in life.

Of course, we also need great leaders in our schools – principals and superintendents who can help foster a positive culture in our schools where teachers are free to achieve their own highest level of success. In addition to more pay, teachers often report that it is the culture of a school and their feeling valued that leads them to either want to stay in the profession or move on to other work.

During my service as state representative, I have met with area educators countless times.  I value their commitment to our children and their work to make our state better.  I strongly believe if we as parents, classroom teachers, administrators and policy makers, all pull on the same end of the rope, we can continue to build on the successes of 2018.  Let’s keep up the good work.

I know I’ll continue to hear from many educators that this raise and the additional money given to education this year is still not enough. I can assure you that when the legislative session starts in February, the state budget will be our first priority, and education will be at the top of the list for state dollars.

In the meantime, have a safe and productive school year!

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or (405) 557-7407.

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Roads and Bridges Update

By Rep. Mike Sanders

It’s the time of year when I like to give an update of roads and bridges projects in House District 59. This gives area residents an idea of what’s coming, so they can plan routes and appropriate drive times.

I fully recognize that roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure needs are endless. As the House majority leader and representative of this district, I will continue to work tirelessly to address our needs.

Transportation is a core service of government and we must and will continue to fund it appropriately. I applaud the Department of Transportation for its 8-year roads and bridges plan. They are careful to plan projects they know can be funded and completed within the time period allotted. 

Following is a list of this year’s projects four our district detailed by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT):

In Blaine County:

  • On State Highway 8, work on the bridges over Spring Creek and other creeks at 1 mile, 10.9 miles and 12.4 miles south of the State Highway 51 junction near Okeene and Hitchcock are estimated to begin Sept. 4 and take 195 days to complete at a cost of $3.6 million.


  • On State Highway 51, work on the bridges over the North Canadian River and the overflow at 0.4 miles and 0.6 miles east of the State Highway 58 junction in Canton is set to begin Sept. 4 and take 150 days to complete at a cost of almost $3.4 million.


In Canadian County:

  • On State Highway 3, the bridge over U.S. Highway 81 will be repaired starting in March 2019 at a cost of almost $2.7 million.


In Dewey County:

  • On U.S. Highway 183, from 7.3 miles south of the U.S. Highway 60 junction north to near Taloga, work is scheduled to start Sept. 4 and take 150 days to complete at a cost of almost $4.1 million. The bridge has already been constructed. This project will tie the roadway to the bridge.


  • On U.S. Highway 270, road repairs continue from 0.4 miles southeast of the State Highway 51 junction extending northwest near Seiling, construction started Feb. 12 and is expected to take 240 days to complete at a cost of almost $8 million.


In Kingfisher County:

  • On State Highway 51, work continues on the westbound lane with the traffic signal at Skeleton Creek. The southeast section of the existing roadway is being removed so the existing surface and base can be reconstructed with new asphalt paving. The project is expected to be complete by August at a cost of $6.6 million.


  • On U.S. Highway 81, the northbound half of the Frontier Bridge (also known as the Kingfisher Creek Bridge) has been removed; drilled shafts were scheduled for June 11. Work on abutments, columns and piers are scheduled for the rest of June and July. Beams should be hung in early August and the first half of the new bridge deck poured in early September. After this curing time, traffic will be switched to this new northbound half of the bridge and the contractor will repeat for the southbound half of the bridge. The project is expected to be complete in May 2019 at a cost of almost $3.5 million.


  • A separate project will reconstruct the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 81 and rehab the southbound concrete pavement, 1.3 miles south of State Highway 33, extending south 3.3 miles on the south side of Kingfisher. The project was scheduled to start June 25 and take 265 days to complete at a cost of almost $8.6 million.


  • Also on U.S. Highway 81 at County Road 860, the right and left turn lanes are being constructed. The project is scheduled to start in September and take 120 days to complete at a cost of almost $1.2 million.


  • On State Highway 132, work on the northbound lane near Drummond was complete June 5. Work to seal the recycled roadway should begin in the near future. The project cost $694,520.


In Woodward County:

  • On U.S. Highway 270, five miles southeast of State Highway 50 extending 5.6 miles southeast near Mutual, two lanes have been overlaid and two southbound lanes added at a cost of $19.8 million. Lanes are complete, striped and open to traffic. Only shoulder work, grass planting and other minor work remains.


  • The next section of U.S. Highway 270 should be released for bid in November if all goes well. This will be a continuation of the previous project, beginning 10.5 miles southeast of State Highway 50 extending 3.7 miles southeast. This is a grade drain and surface adding two new lanes to accomplish a four-lane divided highway at an estimated cost of $18.8 million.


  • Work on the State Highway 34 bridge and approaches over Indian Creek, 2.3 miles south of U.S. 183, is complete with minor exceptions. The work started Jan. 31, 2017 at a cost of almost $2.2 million.


  • Work on the State Highway 34 bridge and approaches over south and north Persimmon Creek, approximately 4.9 and 7.6 miles north of the Dewey County line is complete with minor exceptions. Work started Feb. 13, 2017 at a cost of almost $5.8 million.


  • Construction is planned to improve 34th Street in Woodward. This project will be a grade, drain, bridge and surface project beginning at U.S. Highway 412 and extending south 2.07 miles. This project was awarded in March but has not yet begun. The project is estimated to take 180 days at a cost of $8.6 million. This project is a joint venture between ODOT and the City of Woodward.


  • Work on the bridge and approaches on State Highway 34 over the North Canadian River overflow, 1.2 miles north of U.S. Highway 183 extending south was awarded in May but has not yet begun. The project is estimated to take 180 days at a cost of $704,522.


Drive safely, and keep an eye out for construction crews.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@OKHouse.Gov or (405) 557-7407.


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Sanders Comments on U.S. 81 Construction

Majority House Leader State Rep. Mike Sanders today commented on improvements to U.S. Highway 81 in Kingfisher, which started this week.

The 3½-mile, yearlong project will reconstruct the northbound lane of U.S. 81, adding shoulders, and rehab the southbound concrete pavement between West Will Rogers Drive and south of Park Community Road (County Road E0840) on the south side of Kingfisher. Left turn lanes will be added to U.S. 81 at both Park Community Road and Victory Lane (County Road E0830).

Left turn lanes will be added to U.S. 81 at Park Community Road and Victory Lane. The left turn lanes at Starlite Drive (County Road E0820) will be rebuilt. 

Southbound U.S. 81 is narrowed to one lane until early August when northbound and southbound traffic will be narrowed to one lane in each direction and will remain in this configuration for most of the project. Motorists should expect lane shifts and intermittent closures later in the year.

The Speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph throughout the work zone.

Access to Mercy Hospital Kingfisher will remain open, however, motorists also may access the hospital entrance from Victory Lane.

The $8.6 million contract was awarded in March to Oklahoma-based Duit Construction Co.

“Infrastructure is the backbone of transporting our citizens safely and ensuring the free flow of products and people to support our local businesses,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “As the former chair of the House Transportation Committee for four years and as the current House majority leader, I have worked hard and will continue to do so to ensure roads and bridges funding – a core service of state government – remains a top priority. As the representative for House District 59, I’m thrilled with the tremendous work that has been done and is planned for Northwest Oklahoma. I’m proud of the state Transportation Department and the work they do to ensure our state roadways are safe and updated on a timely schedule.”

Also on tap for the Kingfisher area this year are two additional projects.

On State Highway 51, work continues on the westbound lane with the traffic signal at Skeleton Creek. The southeast section of the existing roadway is being removed so the existing surface and base can be reconstructed with new asphalt paving. The project is expected to be complete by August at a cost of $6.6 million.

On U.S. Highway 81, the northbound half of the Frontier Bridge has been removed; drilled shafts were scheduled for June 11. Work on abutments, columns and piers are scheduled for the rest of June and July. Beams should be hung in early August and the first half of the new bridge deck poured in early September. After this curing time, traffic will be switched to this new northbound half of the bridge and the contractor will repeat for the southbound half of the bridge. The project is expected to be complete in May 2019 at a cost of almost $3.5 million.


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Independence Day Our National Holiday

By Rep. Mike Sanders

Cookouts; parades; children eating hotdogs; fireworks; red, white, and blue; patriotism – these are some of the things I think about when celebrating the Fourth of July. 

I also think about the bravery of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. That hot summer day in 1776 in Philadelphia, they declared our independence from the British Empire. Imagine that … 56 men signed their names to a document letting the world know we would fight and face possible death to be free. 

In our daily routines, we often overlook the freedoms we have as Americans. We enjoy the Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition our government and much more. This Fourth of July I ask that you reflect on the freedoms we have in our country. As you attend a family BBQ or enjoy a day at the lake with friends or simply sit at home and relax, take a moment to remember the courage of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 

We all know John Hancock signed the declaration with a rather large signature. His signature may be the most famous signature in our history. Legend has it; Mr. Hancock signed the way he did to make sure his defiance to the king was known. Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson are a few of the signers. We learned their names and place in our history in grade school, but how many can we remember today?  Take Caesar Rodney, for example, a man who received no formal education and whose father died when he was just 17, but he rose to serve the colony of Delaware and later as a military leader in the colonial militia. Or perhaps Richard Stockton, a man imprisoned and starved by the British for supporting the war. He later died from poor health, likely a result of his sacrifice for this nation.

This Fourth of July take time to learn about a few of the other brave souls who risked their lives for our country’s freedom.

Here is a list of the brave signers.

John Adams, Samuel Adams, Josiah Bartlett, Carter Braxton, Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Abraham Clark, George Clymer, William Ellery, William Floyd, Benjamin Franklin, Elbridge Gerry, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, John Hancock, Benjamin Harrison, John Hart, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Heyward, Jr., William Hooper, Stephen Hopkins, Francis Hopkinson, Samuel Huntington, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lewis, Philip Livingston, Thomas Lynch, Jr., Thomas McKean, Arthur Middleton, Lewis Morris, Robert Morris, John Morton, Thomas Nelson, Jr., William Paca, Robert Treat Paine, John Penn, George Read, Caesar Rodney, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, Edward Rutledge, Roger Sherman, James Smith, Richard Stockton, Thomas Stone, George Taylor, Matthew Thornton, George Walton, William Whipple, William Williams, James Wilson, John Witherspoon, Oliver Wolcott, George Wythe

Happy Fourth! Happy Independence Day! Happy birthday, America!

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Remembering Bravery

By Rep. Mike Sanders

I’ve been thinking about Memorial Day for weeks now. It’s one of those days that grab at my heart every year as I think about the sacrifice of lives laid down for our freedom and our nation’s continued liberty.

I think about those who died prematurely. Some were men and women younger than me, just a little older than my two sons. They no doubt had dreams and visions of their future – spouses, children, careers, cars and the comfort of home, a host of other things that we enjoy daily.

I think about the flags that will wave in the air and decorate graves at the cemeteries where we will gather to pay respects. The red of the flag symbolizing hardiness and valor; the white: purity and innocence; the blue: vigilance, perseverance and justice. So many brave men and women have fought under this banner and for the Republic for which it stands. It is fitting to wave it on this day.

I think about the veterans who will gather to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, who will march in parades so that people will not forget that freedom and liberty do not come without great cost. To them I express deep gratitude for their bravery and their service.

If we’re not careful as a society, we will get comfortable and take our freedoms for granted. We’ll sign up men and women to serve for us. We’ll send them off to foreign lands and think of them only on those few days a year designated as Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Pearl Harbor Day or D-Day. We’ll turn these days into days of leisure and barbecues and pool parties. Yet we must never do this. We must not become complacent. We must express our gratitude and our prayers continually – daily.

In my thoughts on this matter, I turned to a source that is often of great comfort and guidance – the Bible – wondering what it might have to say about memorials. In Exodus 28:12, Aaron, the high priest was to wear memorial stones on his shoulders that had the names of the tribes of Israel inscribed on them. Later in that chapter, verse 29, Aaron is told to wear the names over his heart on his breastplate when he entered the Holy Place “as a continuing memorial before the Lord.”

I started thinking about this – having the priest bear the names of those for whom he was praying as a memorial on his shoulders and over his heart as he went about his daily duties – so fitting.

We talk about having the weight of the world on our shoulders or shouldering a burden. It makes sense then that we would carry the remembrance of those who have died in our place on our shoulders. We don’t just carry their memory, however; we take up the burden they laid down at death: defending our liberty, keeping our fellow citizens and ourselves safe from threats both foreign and domestic.

Next, we carry the memory of these loved ones over our hearts, the place where we feel the most empathy, the most love, the most pain. It is not enough to think about sacrifice – an intellectual exercise – we must be reminded to feel it so that it changes us and daily drives us to live better lives, to live with more purpose.

It is this I choose this Memorial Day – to shoulder the burdens of lives paid in sacrifice to freedom and to bear in my heart the memories of those who died. I’m eternally grateful.

In the meantime, if I can help you with anything, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or

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Session Ends

By Rep. Mike Sanders

The Oklahoma State Legislature adjourned Thursday night, May 3, after the House passed its final pieces of legislation for the year. The governor is in the process of signing the bills into law.

One of my bills signed into law this year is House Bill 3330, which will keep sex offenders from moving within 2,000 square feet of family home child care centers. Other places, such as schools or churches, are protected from predators, but the smaller child care centers were inadvertently left off the original list when the Oklahoma Child Care Facilities Licensing Act was signed into law several years ago. This new law closes that loophole and will better protect our children and childcare workers.

House Bill 2932 also was signed into law. This creates 20-hour-a-week work requirements for about 8,000 able-bodied adults who receive Medicaid benefits. Those with disabilities are exempted. This matches the work requirement for those receiving food assistance through the state. Many of the people who receive these benefits are capable of working to help provide for their needs, they just have low incomes and need some assistance for the short term. Helping them to get jobs is a step toward helping them toward full independence.

House Bill 1340 is another measure recently signed into law. This bill will give stipends to state retirees, including firefighters, teachers, police officers, Highway Patrol troopers and other former state employees. Stipend amounts will depend on a retiree’s years of service and the funding status of the retirement plan of which they are a member. This is a responsible measure that will ensure the long-term stability of the retirement plans for current and future beneficiaries, but it will also give some needed relief to those currently receiving benefits. This is a very good step in the right direction and gives us a snapshot of what we can do with a full-blown Cost of Living Adjustment in the near future.

In my last column I gave a number of details about the $7.6 billion state budget that was passed by the Legislature and signed into law. This week, I wanted to provide a few details about the transportation budget. We were able to increase funding for the state Department of Transportation by 4.3 percent for the next fiscal year – almost $165.9 million vs. $154.1 million in FY18. This added money will keep the department’s eight-year plan intact and assist with building and maintaining county roads and bridges. Infrastructure is a key driver in keeping our economy running and our families safe. It’s an area I fight hard for each year, and I’m thankful we were able to devote more funding this year. In addition, I want to reassure our county commissioners that we did not touch the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Fund as we have in the past few years. We are not balancing this year’s state budget on the back of transportation.

On another note, I’m grateful that homeowners and business owners affected by recent wildfires in Dewey, Woodward and Blaine Counties may now receive low-interest disaster assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The designation allows those receiving the loans to replace any property damaged by the fires that was not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.

More than 70 homes and businesses were affected by the fires and may be eligible for SBA’s program. Two deaths and multiple injuries were attributed to numerous wildfires that burned more than 350,000 acres statewide in April. Donations are still being accepted. Please contact your local fire chief to ask what is needed. They know best. For additional ideas on how to donate, I will repost several links mentioned previously.

Finally, I’m pleased to report the legislative session ended early this year. This will save taxpayers thousands of dollars, allowing us to recoup some of the costs from our two special sessions, which started last year.

In the meantime, if I can help you with anything, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or

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