Senate sends bills to House and vice versa

by Chris Kidd

The Senate recently cleared its second major deadline of this session. Senate bills that received a favorable committee hearing had to pass the Senate floor by March 14 in order to advance in the legislative process. Senate bills now move to the House while House bills advance to the Senate. Bills must receive support in both chambers before they can proceed to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.

Four of my bills have passed the full Senate. I received support for legislation to update state hemp laws, set aside $1 million for small business grants to drive innovation in key industry areas, repeal outdated laws related to unhoused Oklahomans and change state dental laws as requested by the state Board of Dentistry. My bill that aims to increase funding for county roads and highways by eliminating an existing funding cap did not advance before the deadline. But one of my colleagues has an identical bill that is still moving through the legislative process. In future legislative sessions, I’ll continue to do everything I can to help our rural counties meet their infrastructure needs.

The Senate just hit a major milestone in crafting a state budget for the upcoming year. In an effort to increase transparency in the process, the full Senate recently voted on a budget resolution that has been months in the making. Senate Resolution 31 lays out the Senate’s budget priorities in the form of a detailed conservative spending plan. Never before has the full Senate voted on such a concrete budget document so early in session. Now, our Senate appropriations team will begin budget negotiations with representatives from the House and the governor’s office.

I’ve been lucky to have three up-and-coming high school students serve as my Senate pages so far this year. Paging is a great opportunity for young people to learn about the legislative process. Pages tour the Capitol, meet some of the state’s top elected leaders and participate in a mock legislative session.

Most recently, I welcomed Waurika High School senior Jaci Gholson to spend a week working in my office. She also paged for me last year. Before her, Washington High School student Baylor Haynes served as my page. And Lacey Hansen-Beck, a senior at Central High School who also paged for me last year, worked in my office. I’m proud to say all three of these bright young students plan on attending Oklahoma State University, my alma mater.

On March 14, I was proud to present Melissa Hallum as the nurse of the day in the Senate. On each legislative day, senators present a nurse and a doctor of the day. This practice allows us to regularly celebrate our health care heroes. Melissa works at the Mercy Primary Care Clinic in Ardmore and lives in Marietta with her husband and two teenage daughters.

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