By Rep. Mike Sanders
A bill that will restore $30 million to the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges fund recently passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill previously passed the House. The title is on this bill, which means once it passes the full Senate it can proceed straight to the governor to be signed into law.
This is good news for our county roads and bridges. Restoring this funding will help get our county projects back on track. The money was diverted in a previous year to help solve budget shortfalls in other areas, but I’ve watched like a hawk to make sure it was restored to this needed area.
When Republicans gained the majority in state government in 2004, we made transportation a priority. We’ve drastically reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges in our state and completed thousands of miles of road projects. At one time, there was more than 1,800 structurally deficient bridge in Oklahoma; now there are less than 200.
In other news, my House 1228, which will help teachers recognize and assist students with dyslexia, passed unanimously in the Senate Education Committee and now is eligible to be considered by the full body.
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 dyslexia, training in meeting the needs of students with dyslexia, and training on resources about dyslexia for teachers, students and parents.
Research clearly shows that 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. Students with dyslexia often present as those with a learning disability, but they actually just learn in a different way than other students. If teachers are trained to recognize dyslexia characteristics, they can get these students the help they need in a timelier manner. This will be a great benefit to these students and their parents, and will allow the teachers to play a greater role in their students’ success.
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.
My House Bill 1003, which will provide a tax exemption to the Oklahoma American Legion, passed the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. The American Legion has been in Oklahoma for 100 years serving our state veterans and their families as well as our youth through a variety of patriotic education programs and outreach ministries. The Legion also promotes a mission of strong national security. It deserves the same tax-exempt status that other organizations with similar missions already have. The title is off the bill because it is a revenue measure. This means it will have to go through the full Senate and come back to the House to have title restored before it can be sent to the governor to be signed into law.
As always, I would love to hear from you about these or any other issues. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 firstname.lastname@example.org.