The Second Session of the 58th Legislature started Feb. 7 with the governor’s annual State of the State address.
The governor outlined some priorities shared by House Leadership.
Protecting Oklahomans’ individual liberties tops the list. Last year, the Legislature passed House Bill 1236, which clarifies the state’s ability to litigate against cases of federal overreach using the power of the Tenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution. This guarantees that powers not specifically delegated to the U.S. are reserved to the states. We’ve already used this measure to fight against personal health care mandates, immigration policies that threaten public safety, election integrity issues and more.
The governor also emphasized growing the state’s economy. We’ve put more money towards economic development in the past few years to bring more jobs to our state, and we’ll continue these efforts. We’re also intent on increasing the workforce readiness of our young people and easing licensing and other burdens of employment for those already in the workforce.
Also included in the governor’s speech were strong statements about stopping black market marijuana in our state. Since voters legalized medical cannabis in 2018, we’ve struggled to regulate this industry. We’ve made some positive changes in the past few years, and more are forthcoming. We must do a better job of stopping illegal growers and those with foreign ties. We also have to help our county law enforcement and utilities as this industry has put a strain on resources.
Solid fiscal policies such as cutting taxes and saving money amid record revenues while still providing core government services are other shared priorities. We cut the personal income and corporate income tax rates last year and restored the Earned Income Tax Credit for lower income Oklahomans. We’re pursuing other cuts this year. We also plan to save money as we have the past few years.
These are just a few of the priorities this year.
Committee work started the first week of session and was full throttle this past week. We’ve also heard a few bills on the House floor. That pace will quicken in the next few weeks.
On a final note, the state Board of Equalization meets Feb. 16 to finalize the certification of revenues for state appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023. We use these figures to draft the state budget. We expect revenues to continue to be up. When the board last met, they estimated we would have about $10 billion to appropriate. As I said, we’ll save some of that. But still, that puts the state in good shape.
If I can do anything to help or to get you information, please feel free to reach out to my office at (405) 557-7332 or email me at email@example.com.