By Rep. Mike Sanders
This week, my House Bill 1228, which will help teachers recognize and assist students with dyslexia, passed unanimously in the Senate and is now headed to the governor to be signed into law.
This bill requires school districts to offer teachers a professional development program about dyslexia once per year, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. The measure requires the program to include training in identifying students with dyslexia, training in meeting the needs of those students, and will provide resources about dyslexia for teachers, students and parents.
Research clearly shows identifying students with dyslexia early and getting them the proper classroom supports will help them learn to read and perform arithmetic and other subjects on grade level at a quicker pace. The bill was a request from the Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma working group, which will provide training and materials to local school districts at no cost.
Tuesday was Oklahoma Agriculture Day at the state Capitol. This is a day to celebrate farming and ranching in our state and to reward students in multiple contests under the Ag in the Classroom banner as well as to honor the newest member of the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Harrel a rancher, farmer and banker from our area was inducted into the Hall of Fame and received Gov. Stitt’s Outstanding Achievement in Agriculture Award. Harrel is the CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Western Oklahoma in Elk City and Vici. He previously served as high school principal, vocational agriculture instructor and basketball coach at Taloga Public Schools. Congratulations to him for this honor.
Also this week, I received word that the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s April 1 meeting included an announcement by Gov. Stitt that Oklahoma’s bridges on the state highway system are finally nearing the top of the list for the best in the nation. In its recent annual bridge inspection report, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation identified 132, or less than 2 percent, of the 6,800 total bridges on the highway system as rated structurally deficient or poor. The highway system includes non-tolled state, U.S. and interstate highways maintained by ODOT. Bridges on city streets and county roads are maintained separately by local governments.
In 2004, an all-time high of 1,168, or a full 17 percent, of bridges were rated structurally deficient and Oklahoma had been ranked at the bottom nationwide in bridge conditions. When Republicans won the majority in the Legislature, we made transportation a top priority. Thanks to our appropriations to ODOT’s eight-year Construction Work Plan, the department has replaced or rehabilitated more than 1,400 bridges. Nearly all remaining structurally deficient bridges are either currently under construction or scheduled in the Eight-year Plan to begin construction in the next year.
Transportation has long been a priority for me. Ensuring our citizens can travel safely and we can move products to improve our local economies is an important function of government. This news is sweet to report!
As always, I would love to hear from you about these or any other issues. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.