By Representative Brian Renegar, DVM
It has been slightly different here at the capitol this week. To start with, we did honor some breast cancer survivors on Tuesday for Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the Capitol. To hear some of the cancer survivors and their travels through radiation and chemo therapy sure made some of us put life more in perspective.
It has really been a great week for me, getting to see the teachers from my district. It feels that I have given more speeches this week to teachers than I gave in my first campaign for this job.
I was most impressed with the teachers because they all were thankful for their raises, and their sole purpose for being here was to work toward more money for the classroom.
On Monday and Tuesday we were originally not scheduled to vote on any bills on the floor but our leadership scrambled and put two bills on the floor calendar so the teachers wouldn’t see us gavel in and gavel out without doing anything.
We are still about $140 million short on our budget, and even though we have tried to bring up the capital gains tax which the Senate has already passed, our leadership in the House has not allowed it.
On Tuesday we voted on a red cedar bill, WOW that was important.
It has been interesting to hear some of the absurd accusations by some Legislators that are trying to give teachers bad PR. The Legislators have reported a fight with teachers and vandalism in the Legislator’s parking. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which has a large presence here, has reported to us that none of this has occurred.
Also on Wednesday our Leadership (strangely) moved our session back to 3 p.m. from 1:30 hoping teachers would be gone; wrong move – the teachers took it as a slap in the face and I agree; AND they were here in greater numbers.
We all know teachers spend their own money on their students for supplies, as well as food snacks. Several of my colleagues and I on the fifth floor are returning the favor by spending our own money for food snacks and water for the teachers. I guess what goes around comes around.
This has really turned into a public relations war. If the teachers hold out, they could win.
An interesting occurrence is scheduled for next week. Wednesday, April 11 to Friday April 13 is filing period at the State Capitol. Could get interesting.
I have visited this week with educators from Indianola, McAlester, Wilburton, Shidler, Norman, Miami, Prague, Norman, Guthrie, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Mustang, Yukon, Krebs, Kiowa, Hartshorne, Wister, Lexington, Henryetta, Ft. Gibson, Stillwater, Howe, Moore, Edmond and countless others. These conversations were totally about funding for students and the average length of these conversations was 25 minutes, not just “hi and thanks for being here.”
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.