Thursday was one of the biggest legislative deadlines of the year. All bills that originated in the House had to be voted on in the House in order to move on to the Senate. This week alone, we voted on 169 bills and spent 10 or more hours on the floor several days this week. Next week, we’ll begin receiving bills passed by the Senate and will soon start hearing them in committee.
On Wednesday, I passed a bill to simplify the salary decision process of county commissioners. This was a bipartisan bill I filed in Jan. with Rep. David Perryman of Chickasha in response to the State Auditor’s finding that several elected county officials in Grady County had been overpaid by nearly $700,000 over a decade. The current salary decision process is very complex and even has conflicting language in some areas. Rep. Perryman and I worked with the State Auditor’s office to address this issue and hopefully prevent situations like we’ve seen in Grady County from occurring elsewhere. I’m thankful the bill passed overwhelmingly.
Another bill making headlines this week was HB2304 by Rep. Avery Frix from Muskogee. I received many calls and emails from constituents in support of this bill, which provides a 4 percent cost of living adjustment for all state retirees, including retired police, fire, teachers and other state employees. Oklahoma hasn’t provided an adjustment in over a decade, so this legislation is long overdue. After dedicating their lives and careers to our state, they deserve the long-term stability this bill provides. I was glad to see it pass the House with wide bipartisan support and I applaud Rep. Frix’s leadership on this important issue.
We also passed a bill to address the inconsistency of transparency requirements from virtual charter schools versus other public schools. Rep. Sheila Dills from Tulsa authored HB1395, which requires virtual charter schools to submit to the same transparency, financial reporting, financial reporting and audits as traditional schools. It also adds the same stipulations for membership of governing boards, including continuing education courses and a conflict-of-interest clause. I served as a co-author on the bill, which passed the House unanimously.
I’d like to thank Rep. Marcus McEntire of Duncan for his work on several bills this week that I was happy to support as a co-author. HB2632 levels the playing field for local pharmacies to be able to compete against big box pharmaceutical retailers with unfair advantages and HB1902 would increase nursing home funding, which is something very much needed especially for rural Oklahoma nursing homes.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the community of House District 51. The House will soon begin hearing Senate bills, and I encourage you to contact me with questions or concerns about legislation. You can reach me at (580) 641-3153 or firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless.
Rep. Brad Boles