Capitol Greetings June 5, 2024

Wednesday, 05 June 2024 07:47

Capitol Greetings June 5, 2024 Featured

Written by Rep. Jim Grego
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Well, we made it one day early before the required sine die date of  the last Friday in May when we are constitutionally required to adjourn the legislative session. It was rather hectic the final week, but all in all I believe it was a rather successful year.

One of our many accomplishments include cutting the state's 4.5% portion of the grocery tax. This is the single largest tax deduction ever achieved in one year, and should save people money in this tight economy.

Other accomplishments were more money for education, including a teacher pay raise for teachers identified by their districts as advanced, lead or master teachers.  We also made some changes to the third-grade reading law to ensure we get prompter help to students struggling to read.

We secured more funding for rural road and water projects. We passed a resolution affirming that only U.S. citizens can vote in our Oklahoma elections, as well as legislation that creates the crime of impermissible occupation for those in Oklahoma who entered the U.S. illegally. We passed a law that will better help law enforcement remove illegal squatters, and we approved more funding for public safety.

One of my biggest disappointments was not being able to secure funding to rebuild the prison rodeo grounds so we could bring back the ever famous “Prison Rodeo.” As I was ushering my House Bill through the process, Senator Hamilton was bringing a companion bill through the Senate side. It seemed to be on course, then in the final days of budget negotiations the Department of Corrections pulled their request for this money, I’m not sure what brought that on, but it effectively killed this bill for this session. My hope is that the Department of Corrections will be able to secure some funding from within their budget to get this time-honored tradition restarted.

One bill that was passed on the final day of session was Senate Bill 1122. I have had some constituents reach out for why I was a NO vote on this legislation. This bill lined out how the Department of Education would spend their funds, and would have severely limited their ability to communicate about vital programs they offer. I do not believe we should single out only one agency and direct how they spend their money when we're not evenly applying the same principles across the board. I do not believe it is the Legislature’s duty to micro-manage a state agency. SB 1122 ultimately passed off the House floor and is waiting on the governor to decide its fate, so we will see.

As always, thank You for allowing me to serve you. I can be reached at (405) 557-7381 or by email at jim.grego@okhouse.gov

 

Jim Grego serves District 17 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Latimer County and part and Pittsburg County.

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