Working toward bill deadline

by Chris Kidd

The countdown is on with only a few more weeks until the 59th Legislature gets underway. Our main focus has been finishing up our bills so we can get them filed by this coming Thursday, Jan. 19, which is the deadline. Nearly 1,700 Senate measures were requested last month and typically only around half of those will end up getting filed after staff completes their research to check for constitutionality and other issues, as well as members simply pulling their requests for various reasons.

Having the filing deadline allows the floor leader two weeks to assign the filed bills to their rightful committees, and also allows the chairmen sufficient time to review their assigned bills and decide if they want them to be heard in their committee. As chair of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, I’ll work with my vice chair to decide what are the most important issues that we want to tackle this session. Our agriculture community has been hit hard economically the last year with the drought, the avian flu, supply chain and workforce issues, along with other problems related to the ever-increasing inflation rate. We have to make sure we do all we can at the Capitol to support and protect our farmers, ranchers, and other agriculturalists, as well as the rural Oklahoma in general. 

Besides working on legislation, our appropriations subcommittees have begun meeting to continue the budgeting process. Now that the state Board of Equalization has announced their preliminary revenue certification of $13 billion, we must meet with our state agencies and see what their budgetary needs will be for the upcoming fiscal year. The board will meet again in mid-February to make any adjustments based on various economic factors. Mostly likely, we will see state revenues begin to drop in the next year so we will plan accordingly as we craft the budget.

This session, I’ve been assigned to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. Our second round of budget hearings were Tuesday. We met with the Department of Education, the Oklahoma Arts Council, OETA, the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability, and the Oklahoma School of Science and Math. In December, we met with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). Altogether, our committee oversees the budgets of 12 education agencies and commissions, and we’ll meet with the remaining ones on Jan. 25. 

Thank you again for the privilege of serving our district and the State of Oklahoma in the Senate. If I can be of any assistance, you can reach me at (405) 521-5563 or