Despite the winter weather shutting down most of the state, the House continued to meet as often as possible to prepare for next week’s committee deadline.
Next Thursday is the final day to pass any House bill out of its committee, a vital first step to having it heard on the House floor. Any bill that does not pass out of committee is considered dead for the legislative session.
This week, I presented two bills before the House Appropriations & Budget Committee, both of which passed with a unanimous 31-0 vote.
My first bill I presented, House Bill 1060, provides a sales tax exemption for the transfer of tangible personal property between wholly subsidiaries of a parent company and between a parent company and its wholly owned subsidiaries. We are only one of four states in the US that have this tax in our statutes; I do not think a business should be double taxed on an asset that they’ve paid sales tax on once already just because they transfer it to their parent company or their wholly owned subsidiary.
My second bill, HB1061, directs funds in the Canceled Warrant Fund due to the cancellation of warrants from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund to the Crime Victims Compensation Funds, rather than the General Revenue Funds. This bill will help improve funding for victims of violent crimes in Oklahoma. I’m very grateful to the members of the committee for their support of these important pieces of legislation!
This week, I also presented House Bill 2074 before the House Education Committee. HB 2074 is authored by House Speaker Charles McCall and would allow students to transfer between public school districts at any time during the school year as long as the receiving school has capacity.
Receiving districts would still be able to deny a transfer in some circumstances including a student’s previous disciplinary or absence record or if the district was at full capacity as publicly posted and defined by the local school district board of education.
It’s important to ensure parents can make decisions about their child’s education and have the ability to transfer their child to another public school if their child’s needs are not being met at their current school. This bill protects that ability for parents while also giving school districts necessary local control by allowing them to set capacity or deny a student’s transfer if they have shown previous discipline or attendance problems.
My final bill of the legislative session was slated to be heard before the Technology Committee this week, but due to the weather, the meeting was cancelled and rescheduled for next week.
On Monday, the Oklahoma State Board of Equalization met to certify our state budget for the next fiscal year. We will have slightly more than $9.6 billion to appropriate in the fiscal year 2022 budget, which is nearly $1.2 billion more than what officials projected in December.
This budget projection is much better than we were initially anticipating. Thanks to setting a conservative fiscal budget this year and most importantly the resiliency of Oklahomans throughout this historic pandemic, we’re in a much more secure position financially than many other states that are looking at billion dollar deficits!
Now that we have certified the appropriated budget amount for FY2022, we will begin developing the details of our state budget over the next few months, as well as continuing to pass legislation to solve issues Oklahomans are facing.
Thank you for trusting me to serve as your state representative. As always, feel free to contact me to discuss policies you are passionate about or have concerns regarding.