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Week 5, Day 1: The Eve of Chaos

My original expectation for this week was to wait until the end of the week and provide you with a summary of all four days, but that quickly got shelved under the pile of bills we were expected to deal with today (26, but we were only able to get through 16).

We started with House Resolution 1027 recognizing the remarkable life and legacy of Billy Graham and honoring his extraordinary contributions and mourning his passing.

HB2910, our first bill, dealt with consolidating the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Apparently, neither of these bureaus had asked to be combined, but when you’re a Republican, consolidation for consolidation’s sake is sufficient reason enough. I voted NO, but of course, it passed.

HB3042 dealt with creating the Oklahoma Veterans Facility Investment Act. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it means closing the Talihina Veterans’ Center (which I understand is perfectly functional) and building another Veterans’ Center somewhere within a 90-mile radius at ONLY a cost of $45M to the state. Again, I voted NO, but it passed.

Today, I witnessed two things I’ve rarely before seen - a Republican bill that Failed and a Democratic bill that passed:

HB3369 failed because it wasn’t very well written, it left too many questions. It dealt with prohibiting the sale of or providing a crossbow to children. It Failed 37-53.

HB2913, by Rep. Mickey Dollens, creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program, an agri-business program paired for two years with Oklahoma colleges and universities to hopefully bring millions of dollars into the state in the future. This passed unanimously.

Three of our bills today dealt with pensions (not COLAs, unfortunately), one with nonresident lifetime combination hunting and fishing license ($7500!), another with ODOT selling surplus land, and another with permitting epinephrine auto-injectors to be prescribed for authorized individuals, like school nurses or camp counselors. All these passed unanimously or close to it.
I have to admit there was one bill I did not cast a vote for or against today. HB2998 was presented as a bill dealing with bonding on certain county projects, but when I called up the bill on my computer, it looked like it dealt with engineering projects. As it turned out, the description that was given was for an amendment to the bill. Since I was unsure what I was voting on, I skipped this vote. I’m still finding that every day is a learning experience.

Tomorrow we’re scheduled to hear 45 bills! What’s the hurry? We only have 8 days, until March 15th, to move ALL bills that made it out of committee across the House floor. (Not much time to research and study bills before you have to vote on them.)

Paid for by Karen Gaddis for HD75 2018
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