Press release from Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Democrats called on Senate Republicans today to reconsider legislation that gives state employees a $2,500 pay raise, and for both House and Senate Republicans to accept and pass an amendment for a 4 percent cost of living adjustment.
“Our state employees have waited for the legislature to act on these issues long enough,” said Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman). “It is time for Senate Republicans to stop playing political games with the financial wellbeing of state employees.”
Although both pieces legislation addressing state employee pay raises (HB2763) and pensions (HB2304) are currently inactive, there are still options available to accomplish the raise and cost of living adjustment.
A state employee pay raise could be reconsidered through the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget, and a 4 percent COLA could be realized through the amendment process.
“Both of these goals can be accomplished,” said Rep. David Perryman (D-Chickasha). “This is a matter of will and priorities. If we can find a way to legalize alcohol being served on a golf course, surely we can carve out a little time and dedication to the thousands of Oklahomans who have and are serving our state as public employees.”
It has been 11 years since state retirees have seen a cost of living adjustment. House Bill 2304, authored by Republican Rep. Avery Frix, passed through the House 91-3.
“Whatever drama is happening on the Senate side, I know Oklahoma retirees aren’t the cause,” Rep. Monroe Nichols said. “Yet, for more than a decade they keep getting hurt by the pettiness in this building. Through the amendment process, we are going to give the legislature another chance to get this right. For the sake of the thousands of retirees in Tulsa County and the many more throughout the state, I hope we do.”