House Passes Rural Doctors Bill, Looks Toward Floor Work

March 2nd, 2020

On Thursday, the House finished our committee work on House bills for this session. Bills must pass through their committee before moving to the House floor, and any bills not passed by Feb. 27 no longer continue in the legislative process.

I chair the County and Municipal Government Committee every week, and over the last four weeks, we approved 24 House bills that are now eligible to be heard by the entire House. Our committee will not meet again until we start hearing the relevant Senate bills that have passed the Senate floor.

I presented and passed another of my bills through its committee, which means I now have 8 total bills that passed committees and are now ready to be presented on the House floor over the next two weeks.

Legislators will spend hours on the chamber floor this week and next to hear the hundreds of bills that made it through committee. We will be spending the majority of our days, and possibly some evenings as well, considering and voting on the legislation during this time. The deadline to vote on House bills in the House is March 12, just two weeks away.

Although we spent most of our time this week in committees, we did pass a few bills on the House floor. One particularly beneficial bill is House Bill 3823 by House Speaker Charles McCall, which we passed on Wednesday. This important piece of legislation provides a $25,000 tax credit for doctors who move to a rural area to practice.

Rural Oklahoma has a severe shortage of quality health care professionals. Sadly, we rank near the bottom for health care outcomes, and many of our rural citizens do not have easy access to primary care. As numerous current rural doctors begin to reach retirement age, we need a way to incentivize more doctors to relocate to these areas. I was glad to sign onto the bill as a co-author and pleased to see it pass the House 84-3.

On Thursday evening, my wife and I attended the annual banquet hosted by the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF). Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce Executive Director Brent Kisling was the keynote speaker and gave an update on the great economic development progress that we are making at the state level which was very encouraging news to hear.

I always enjoy attending this event and visiting with local constituents and business leaders in Stephens County and House District 51. I appreciate the support that the DAEDF organization provides to the Duncan area community and businesses, as well as their relentless efforts of marketing and recruiting new businesses to this area.

As the Legislature shifts its focus to bills on the chamber floor, I will continue to vote for bills that I feel best represent the views of District 51. It’s truly an honor to represent you!

As always, please reach out to my office with any questions or concerns that you may have. You can contact me at ‪(580) 641-3153 or God bless!

Below are some pictures of this past week that I want to share with you:

On Tuesday evening I attended the Hilliary Communications Legislative Reception. This is a SW Oklahoma company headquartered in Medicine Park that has had major growth in recent years. They are also in the process of doing some major fiber line projects in House District 51 communities which will help give constituents better internet wifi access options and availability.
Oklahoma Dept of Commerce Director Brent Kisling who gave the keynote speech at the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation Banquet that my wife and I attended on Thursday evening in Duncan.
Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, who is the Director of Continuing Ed and Beef Cattle Extension for the OSU Veterinarian School, spoke to the House Rural Caucus this week about the great things going on at the OSU Vet school. Dr. Biggs’ husband, Scott Biggs, also served as a State Rep for HD51 previously.
The Central High FFA Team led by their Advisor Mr. Curry visited the Capitol this week. I enjoyed visited with them and giving them a tour of the House Chamber.