2020 Legislative Session is underway; promises to be a busy

This year, 2,240 bills and resolutions were filed between the House and Senate. Many of the new bills have now been assigned to committees in their respective chambers. We have until Feb. 17 to pass measures out of Appropriations & Budget subcommittees and until Feb. 27 to pass them out of regular committees. Because this is the second session of the 57th Legislature, we also can still consider measures not passed last year. That total is 1,547. These bills can pick up where they left off in the process last year.

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Once bills pass in committee, they are eligible to be considered on the House floor. I am again serving as a deputy majority floor leader this year. Our team gathers daily during session to determine which bills will be heard. We have until March 12 to vote on House bills before passing them to the Senate. Then we begin the process of considering Senate bills in committees and on the floor.

The House has 23 regular committees and 10 Appropriation & Budget subcommittees. Those began meeting the first week of session.

One of my bills passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 3195 would direct all sheriffs, jailers and deputies to comply with any request made in an immigration retainer request provided by the federal government, and would require the person identified in the detainer to be informed they are being held pursuant to the request. Compliance is not required if the person has provided proof of United States’ citizenship. This bill seeks to protect Oklahomans and provide some clarification and uniformity to our law enforcement officers.

Also last week, House and Senate members heard Gov. Stitt’s second State of the State message. The governor shared his vision of agency consolidation and reducing state regulations.

The governor would consolidate agencies such as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Authority; the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Pardon and Parole Board; the Oklahoma Department of Health, the Health Care Authority and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and others, as well as all of the state’s licensing boards that deal with health.

While I am a big fan of reducing bureaucracy and redundancy, I and other lawmakers want to make sure we are not creating something unmanageable.  The devil is always in the details and I look forward to working with the governor’s office to get the details right and make agencies more accountable and provide better services to the people of Oklahoma. We will be studying the governor’s request with due diligence.

The governor also has called for a 25% reduction in state regulations over the next three years. He’s told state agencies, via an executive order, to get rid of two regulations for every new one created. Again, I’m always a fan of decreased regulation where it makes sense and has value.

If you have questions or issues, feel free to contact me at john.pfeiffer@okhouse.gov or (405) 557-7332. 

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