Legislature Continues to Hear Bills, Ongoing Budget Negotiations

May 13th, 2019

This has been another busy, but productive week at the Capitol. On Monday, I presented HB1911 on the House floor, where it passed unanimously. HB1911 amends qualifications to serve as a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators to allow for a wider pool of talented applicants. I appreciate all my colleagues’ support of this bill throughout the legislative process. This bill is now at the Governor’s desk.

One bill the House heard this week was HB2632, which helps level the playing field for locally-owned pharmacies. These small businesses are very important to our local economy, especially in rural Oklahoma like District 51. We need to ensure that these pharmacies can compete in a level playing field against big chain pharmacies, and HB2632 addresses some of these issues.

Our locally owned pharmacies employee many people in our communities and provide exceptional customer service. They’re also active community leaders and help support many of our local charities and organizations, so it’s critical we support them in return by giving them a fair chance against big chain pharmacies. I commend Rep. Marcus McEntire for his efforts on leading the charge in House on this bill and I was glad to sign on as a co-author in support as well.

Tuesday was Braum’s Day at the Capitol! They served their famous ice cream to legislators and Capitol staffers at a booth set up in the rotunda outside the House and Senate chambers. Braum’s dairy farm is in Tuttle, just a short distance outside of District 51, but it plays a very important role in our district and our state’s economy. We’re blessed to have them in our state and we appreciate them coming to the Capitol! I also visited with members from the Tuttle Chamber of Commerce and Tuttle City Council who came for Braum’s Day.

Rep. Brian Hill and I joined Sen. Lonnie Paxton in the Senate on Wednesday to recognize the Tuttle wrestling team for their 11th consecutive state championship. They also finished this year as the top-ranked team in the state and were ranked among the top ten wrestling teams in the nation! These students work hard year-round to prepare for wrestling season, and their dedication to the sport is commendable.

I had a high school page join my office this week. Dustin Tolson is a junior in Alex Public Schools. I’m grateful for his help at the Capitol this week and appreciated the chance to spend some extra time with him on Thursday. One of my highlights as a state representative is the opportunity to work with students from schools throughout District 51 thanks to the page program and I hope that this experience is as meaningful to them as it always is for me.

Although we’ve been discussing the budget since the session started in February, we are continuing budget negotiations with the Senate and Governor through the remaining weeks. The Oklahoma Constitution requires the Legislature to adjourn by May 31, and we need a budget for Fiscal Year 2020 passed through both chambers by then to avoid the additional costs of the special session. We have more money to work with this year compared to years past, but because of previous budget cuts during tough economic times, there are many state agencies in need of a funding increase. I’m optimistic that we will emerge from budget negotiations with a plan that wisely appropriates money for our core services and also increases our rainy day savings account so our state budget will be better positioned to weather the next economic downturn without severe cuts to core services or tax increases to our citizens and businesses.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I’d like to showcase two important women in my life: my wife Michelle and my mom Lynne. I am incredibly thankful for and blessed by the roles they have both played in my life and the lives of my kids. And a very happy Mother’s Day to all the moms in District 51! Mothers help shape today’s children into the next generation of Oklahoma’s leaders.

Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns about the legislation. You can contact me at (580) 641-3158 or God bless!

Rep. Brad Boles