Once again, we’re heading into another major deadline—April 25 is the last day for the full Senate to vote on bills that were sent over by the House. That deadline comes just two weeks after the final day for Senate committees to consider legislation from across the rotunda. We had a short session week last week because of the Easter Holiday, but we were focused on getting through the legislation before us. We had 226 House bills ready for floor votes after the April 11 committee deadline, and we approved 67 in the full Senate this past week. Thirty-five Senate measures have already been signed into law by Governor Stitt.
One of the bills I was excited to support was a measure restoring $30 million in funding to the County Improvements in Roads and Bridges (CIRB) program. In recent years, economic downturns and problems within the state budget structure had resulted in numerous, significant shortfalls. CIRB was one of the areas where funds were diverted in order to balance the budget. Thanks to much hard work and reform, Oklahoma is once again on stable economic footing, and we are in a position to make important investments, like this $30 million for CIRB. Particularly in rural Oklahoma, our counties’ transportation infrastructure is critical for economic development and for public safety.
Twice this session, members of the Senate, the House, the Governor and the Lt. Governor have gathered to pay tribute to Oklahoma’s veterans. This past week we backed our words up with actions, helping support the American Legion, which has in turn supported Oklahoma veterans for 100 years. For years, organizations like Blue Star Mothers and the VFW have enjoyed a state sales tax exemption, but somehow the American Legion was overlooked. Both the House and Senate have now unanimously approved extending that benefit to the American Legion, an organization that has done so much for our veterans for communities throughout Oklahoma.
And in case you missed it, it was announced this week that Oklahoma’s public Pre-K program was scored among the top eight states in the nation in a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research. According to the annual report, Oklahoma met 9 of 10 benchmarks in quality standards, including academic standards, class size and staff professional development. Only three states met all 10 benchmarks and four states tied Oklahoma with nine benchmarks. Our early childhood education is a long-time priority in Oklahoma, and I’m excited that we’ve received this recognition.
Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to be your voice in the Oklahoma Senate. Please feel free to contact my Capitol office with any questions or concerns you may have about legislation or other issues impacting our state at 405.521.5628 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.