Friday, 17 March 2017 11:46

A legislative update by Rep. Rick West Featured

Written by Rep. Rick West
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The Oklahoma House of Representatives is moving at a feverish pace as we try to churn through as many bills as possible, and I wanted to update you on a few of the bigger ones from the past few weeks.

 

The House sent a “Blue Lives Matter” bill to the Senate, which would make any person guilty of murder in the first degree of a law enforcement officer to have two possible sentences: death or life without parole. This sends a clear message that Oklahoma protects those who protect us.

 

HB 2298 actually puts us on better financial footing as a state because it eliminates the wind tax credits for any windmills that are not in the air by July 1, 2017. By stopping these generous credits, Oklahoma could see $500 million in savings over the next 10 years. That money could go toward education, better roads and bridges, and enhancing the lives of Oklahomans in the southeast part of the state. HB 2298 passed the House earlier this month as well, and it’s now in the Senate’s hands.

 

I voted against a bill that would’ve updated Oklahoma’s A-F grading system. House Bill 1693 brings Oklahoma into compliance with a federal mandate. I voted no because it was nothing more than the federal government trying to tell us how to run our schools. I’m hopeful that our new president will get rid of mandates like these, and I didn’t see a reason to pass the bill in the meantime.

 

I also voted against HB 2186, which would allow alcohol to be sold in movie theaters. I was in the minority though, and this bill passed out of our chamber. I was saddened to know that one of the last alcohol-free, family-friendly places in our communities could no longer be that way under this measure. It’s headed to the Senate, and I hope the folks in that body consider the repercussions of a bill like this.

 

A few other bills dealing with the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the Grand River Damn Authority and education savings accounts died and will not be heard this session.

I’m also talking to the National science Foundation and AT&T about grants for LeFlore County schools. The Spiro superintendent Richard Haynes is interested in that money, and I’m excited for what it could do for our students.

 

I know a lot of folks are wondering how to help the wildfire situation in the northwest part of the state. More than anything, these farmers and ranchers need milk replacer and protein blocks.

 

The Heavener Feed Store and the Poteau Co-op are accepting donations, or you can also reach out to George Vinson. Whatever you decide, please continue to pray for the people impacted by this terrible situation.

 

As always, you call my office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at . I’m on KPRV every Friday at 7:35 a.m., and I’m at the the LeFlore County GOP Office at 1301 S Broadway in Poteau Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until noon. You can call that office at (918) 647-9489. God bless.