Two weeks ago, newly sworn-in Gov. Kevin Stitt kicked off the fresh legislative session with his first State of the State Address before a joint Legislature. In his address, the Governor outlined a conservative, pro-economic growth plan for Oklahoma that demands government accountability and efficiency while also addressing the needs of our core agencies. He specifically mentioned the need for increasing the amount of money in our state savings account so we don’t have to cut as many core services when the economy isn’t doing as well. He also presented a plan to digitally transform our state by bringing our services into the 21st century and uploading our state budget online so it’s easy to navigate.
The House is already working to accomplish another one of the Governor’s priorities: making our teachers the highest paid in the region. House Bill 1780 would provide a $1,200 across the board pay raise for public school teachers. Between this raise and the increase given last year, this would make Oklahoma’s teachers the highest paid in the region. These numbers come from confirmed 2017 data provided by the National Education Association. The bill passed the House Appropriations & Budget Committee on Wednesday and will move to the floor for consideration.
The last two weeks have seen numerous committee meetings as well. I have the privilege of sitting on several committees: A&B Finance; Banking, Financial Services and Pensions; Government Efficiency; and Public Health. I also serve as an Assistant Floor Leader.
On Wednesday, the House voted on House Bill 2597, otherwise known as constitutional carry. I was proud to sign on as a co-author of this bill to stand up for the Second Amendment rights of Oklahoma’s people. Law-abiding citizens should be allowed to carry a firearm without a permit from state government. Despite pushback, the House voted to protect the Second Amendment rights of our citizens and the bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Next week should see my first bill being heard in committee. I’m excited to present my bill and I look forward to guiding it through the legislative process. Session has certainly started off busy, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve my constituents in District 36 at the State Capitol.