By State Rep. Brad Boles
Session wrapped up about four weeks ago, and I thought it was time for a quick update regarding interim for lawmakers and other notable things happening in our state.
Since session finished, I’ve spent the last month back home in District 51 visiting with constituents, speaking at Legislative Forums and answering questions on legislation from this most recent session. During session, lawmakers spend four days a week in Oklahoma City. This works fine for legislators in the OKC Metro, but rural legislators spend a lot of time away from home during this time period and several hours each week driving back and forth between their district and 23rd and Lincoln.
As a result, we often miss community events and time with our families simply because our role as an elected official requires us to be away so much. Thankfully, interim offers lawmakers a chance to return home full-time and really connect with their constituents. Many lawmakers, such as myself, also use this time to catch up on their personal business or jobs that they missed most of during session, and most importantly, do our best to make up for lost time with family.
I’ve spoken to a number of groups since session ended, and if there are any other groups in District 51 that would like me to come discuss the legislative process and different policy areas, please contact me! I always enjoy the chance to interact with and hear directly from my constituents.
The seven months we’re in interim may sound like a pleasant break, but legislators spend much of this time preparing for the upcoming session. Interim is an opportunity to start working on future legislation by meeting with constituents to hear their ideas or by attending an interim study to study a certain policy area in-depth. I’ve already began to work on bills for next year; if you have ideas regarding policy areas, please reach out to me so we can collaborate!
I wanted to provide some information regarding notable things happening in our state. Starting July 1, when Oklahomans sell a car, your license plate will stay with you rather than with your car. As part of this new system, drivers will be required to keep their car registration paperwork in their car at all times. This is issued at the time of initial registration and annually when the vehicle registration is renewed. You can also request another copy at your local DMV office or online. More information can be found at the Oklahoma Tax Commission website, tax.ok.gov.
Also happening in Oklahoma is the ongoing trial in Norman that alleges Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical company, used false or deceptive marketing techniques to oversupply Oklahoma with opioids that eventually resulted in the accidental overdoses of over 6,100 people between 2000 and 2017. As a reference, 6,100 people is more than the number of people who were killed in traffic accidents during that same time period.
Addiction can be treated, but it is very difficult to treat and is something people will struggle with for the rest of their lives. Attorneys for the state are pushing for a 30-year abatement plan that totals $17.5 billion, paid for by Johnson & Johnson, to help combat the opioid crisis in our state. However, until the trial ends, details are still possible to change regarding that amount and what that treatment plan would look like.
Similar lawsuits are filed in other states, but Oklahoma’s is the first to go to trial. The state called its final witness this week, but it is possible that the trial will continue for much longer.
Looking ahead, the Fourth of July is approaching, and there are numerous events throughout the communities in District 51 that I encourage you to check out and attend! We are blessed to live in an independent and free country that upholds our God-given rights and gives us opportunities to succeed.
If there’s anything I can help with or any questions I can answer, don’t hesitate to reach out with your concerns. You can contact me at (580) 641-3153 or firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless!
Below are some pictures of the past few weeks events.
Rep. Brad Boles represents District 51 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Grady, McClain and Stephens Counties.