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April 21, 2011

05/06/11 | by Brian | Categories: Welcome

     As one of the stewards of State Government, I try to be forward thinking of what we have in Oklahoma and what we need to protect (budget-wise).  Oklahoma has more upstream flood control structures than any other State in the Union.  Each year, Oklahoma?s 2,100+ flood control dams save our state $78 million in flood damage that does not happen because the dams are holding back the floodwaters.  I realize in this time of record drought, it may be hard to focus on these flood control dams, but we have to be forward thinking on this subject. 

             We are finally spending long days on the House floor passing legislation, some good, some bad, and some that is only passed to help someone get re-elected.

             A bill by D. Roberts (R-Durant) was passed and signed by the Governor, which bans funeral protests within 1,000 feet of a funeral (previously it was 500 feet).

             SB 274 by Liebmann (R-Okla. City) is a bill to create a new turnpike.  Let?s see, we gave Tulsa a new turnpike two years ago -- I guess Oklahoma City wants one this year.  I voted NO; this bill was killed.

             SB 595 by Derby (R-Owasso) allows the Secretary of Transportation to spend $100,000 on a feasibility study for advertising on toll roads.  I would rather see this money go to rehabilitate some of our state?s flood control lakes.  I voted ?no? on this bill, and it failed by a very narrow margin. 

            My intentions this week were to write about two or three bills that we either passed or killed each day that had a major impact on the people of Oklahoma.  The aforementioned bills came on the House floor on Monday.  Unfortunately, yesterday (Tuesday) after nine hours and hearing 30 something bills, there was not one that was newsworthy enough to report to you.  Better luck today!

             We passed HJR 1002 by Dank (R-Okla. City) which would send to a vote of the people a state question that reduces from 5% down to 3% the amount of ad valorem tax that a county tax assessor can raise our land taxes each year.  Our ad valorem (land) taxes go to schools and county government.  At the present time the State of Oklahoma ranks 47th out of 50 states in the amount we are taxed; there are only three states that tax their population less than we are taxed.

             I have been somewhat disappointed with the content of legislation this year at the Capitol.  Over the last few years I have felt the way Oklahoma could pull itself out of this recession is to convert our vehicles to natural gas.  I was fully expecting at least legislation to convert state government vehicles and school buses to compressed natural gas.  I passed by a natural gas service station this morning and noticed it was at 1.39 equivalent to a gallon of gas, which is pushing $4.00/gallon.  We are having a big increase in compressed natural gas service stations statewide.  I was also told that our major car makers were going to be mass producing more natural gas burning vehicles in 2017.  I wish the people of Oklahoma would push our legislature to pursue natural gas conversions. 

             We pass a lot of legislation that are hot button items that are polled and politically correct, but yet we seem to fall short on issues that increase the quality of life for most Oklahomans.  We are in bad need of another Robert S. Kerr or Henry Bellmon to turn this state around.

 This week we honored Department of Transportation Poster winners from across the state.  On the House floor we recognized Erin Dunlap, the daughter of Shannon and Gina Dunlap who reside southeast of Krebs.  They were accompanied by Cynthia Douthitt who is Erin?s teacher at Will Rogers Elementary School.  It sure was nice to see some home folks here at the Capitol.

 We also honored 4-H members of Oklahoma.  Students from my district who came by were:  Makenna Rogers, Kiowa and Chris Maxcey from McAlester. 

God Bless all of you and I hope everyone is able to attend Easter services in your home church.  Remember the vast majority of Americans profess ?In God We Trust.? 

Acts, chapter 1.

 

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Weekly update from Oklahoma City on the status of Bills in the House.

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