Keeping Up With State Government

By Rep. Mike Sanders

I’m sending this column with a link to my latest video blog: You can watch previous blogs on this site as well. This is another way I’ve found to inform the people who live in my district about all that is going on at the state Capitol. Adding video to the regular newspaper columns I send throughout the legislative session will help ensure more Oklahomans are apprised of the status of bills that affect areas of concern – such as transportation, education, health care, public safety and more.

I also try during session to stay very active on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. I find these are quick ways to let a multitude of people know what’s happening at the Capitol that might have consequences to their daily lives. Sometimes things move very slowly in state government; at other times they move swiftly. I might have drafted a piece of legislation early in the session, for instance, only to be told in May that it will be heard on the House floor that day. This is an example of something I might post to social media, just to get the news out as quickly as possible. Of course, I’ll then follow up with either a press release or column to my local news outlets in hopes they will let people know the latest status of the legislation.

This year I’ve been given a new role in House leadership, that of majority leader. This is an all-inclusive role that helps guide policy, communicate to the public the initiatives of the Oklahoma House Republican Caucus and steer the House agenda.

Part of my job will be to communicate the major pieces of legislation proposed by House leadership. These include passage of the REAL ID Act, which will bring Oklahoma Driver’s licenses into compliance with federal law; judicial reform; teacher pay raises; and the examination of wind tax credits, to name a few. We’re considering the idea of weekly press conferences and other methods to communicate our successes as we move through session.

In addition, I plan to be highly involved in the budget process this year. I came into the House alongside Appropriations & Budget Chair state Rep. Leslie Osborn. I admire her fearlessness in attacking areas of government waste, and I agree with her conservative approach to government. We must have government that is responsible. There is a plan already to bring in the top five appropriated state agencies before the session begins so that we can hear from them their budget requests for the next fiscal year and can begin finding efficiencies.

I’ll have more to tell you as session gets underway.

Merry Christmas and Happy new year to you.

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