Legislative Update

Before getting into current legislation, I would like to begin this column by reporting that Oklahoma’s education ranking has improved.

To our educators’ credit, we have jumped from a near-bottom ranking in education to 35th. The new ranking was part of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 15th edition of its Report Card on American Education. Not only has our ranking improved but we are now ahead of the curve in two areas – our teacher-to-pupil ratio and the graduation rate of our high school students. The report should make all Oklahomans proud.

It was the focus of legislators this week to make sure federal stimulus dollars were not going to be used in an inappropriate way by state agencies.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 was passed by both the state House and the state Senate. It requires state agencies that receive federal stimulus funds to submit a plan for the expenditure of such funds to the chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees and the governor’s office.

The resolution also states that an agency cannot spend the federal funds without additional dollars being accounted for in the state agency’s budget limits put into law every legislative session. Each year, a budget limitation bill is passed for each agency to show legislative intent in the expenditure of appropriated funds.

It is my belief that we need as much oversight over these federal dollars as we can to ensure taxpayers are adequately protected.

Another important resolution states that the Oklahoma Legislature is opposed to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and believes that the Electoral College system is the best way to decide elections. Our Founding Fathers set up the Electoral College system in order to allow all states, no matter their populations, to have a say in who was elected. The bill is authored by a former history teacher and I believe it protects a system that was set up for a very good reason – namely that all regions of the country would have certain amount of sway as to who is elected to represent our country.

I was a proud supporter of the resolution, which passed despite 35 members who opposed it. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact was dreamed up by those who were not happy that George W. Bush was elected over Al Gore despite not having the majority of the popular vote. There will always be those who want to change our country’s laws because of some perceived wrong but I believe we must decide based on what is best for our country.

I would also like to mention a productive meeting I had with Mayor Wes Hardin, City Manager Tiffany Tillman and Curtis Turner, all of Hennessey, and Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Thompson. They all addressed questions I had about the wastewater system.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.