Looking Ahead

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Having drawn no opponent for re-election, I can’t thank you for your confidence in me. We have another crucial year ahead of us with our budget, so I’m going to dedicate the time that I would have used campaigning to preparing for next year’s legislative session.

Lawmakers have filed interim studies to examine a variety of problems ranging from paternity fraud to state funding. Speaker-designate Kris Steele has filed an interim study to examine transitioning the state from an income tax method of funding to using a flat rate state sales tax. Another study would examine the Department of Human Services child abuse and neglect review system in the hope of continuing to improve the agency’s care for children in Oklahoma.

In my last column, I noted that legislation I had authored awaited the governor’s signature. I am proud to announce he has now signed two more of my bills into law. House Bill 2971 creates a funding mechanism for transportation. House Bill 2973 puts in place mandates that will protect our land’s integrity and the rights of property owners who participate in the wind energy industry. It is the only legislation of its kind in the nation. All in all, I have authored five House bills and four Senate bills that have been signed into law.

The governor also signed a piece of legislation that will aid law enforcement agencies in the state. Under House Bill 2983, the state attorney general and district attorneys would be authorized to initiate forfeiture actions against those involved in organized crime such as human trafficking, the transportation and harboring of illegal immigrants, organized voter fraud, and terrorism-related offenses. Under the asset seizure and forfeiture proceedings, the illicit profits and property utilized in organized criminal conduct could be divided among law enforcement agencies that participate in the investigation and prosecution of organized crime.

Looking ahead, I anticipate that the next legislative session may be the beginning of a better system for funding state government in addition to a more rational system of spending. Conservative lawmakers will continue to cut non-essential spending and look for additional modernization to increase government efficiency.

I will be traveling through the district during the interim and will keep you regularly updated on the ideas and problems presented to me by constituents. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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