2021 legislative session gets underway
January 13, 2021
I think we can all agree that 2021 did not begin in the peaceful and happy way that many of us had hoped. The antics of 2020 have seemingly bled into the New Year, especially on a national scale.
I was appalled by the actions of the people who stormed the nation’s Capitol last week. When I signed onto a letter urging Congress to challenge the certification of the presidential election results in December, I was simply seeking election integrity. The process that was being followed seemed to be the last way to contest the validity of some state elections. When more people vote than are registered, it should be investigated. People must be assured that their vote counts, and I still question how some states verify their ballots. Oklahoma has one of the most safe and secure voting systems in the country, and I supported Sen. Lankford’s request to challenge the results in some other states.
The day before the historic riot in Washington, D.C., we held our first official order of business here at the state Capitol for the 2021 session on organizational day. Both the Senate and House came together to formally elect leadership and vote for the rules that will govern the 58th Legislature. Our next order of business before the session begins on Feb. 1 is the bill filing deadline on Jan. 21. All bills that will be considered in the upcoming session must be filed by this date.
As our state continues the fight against Covid-19, the State Department of Health is working to ensure all Oklahomans who would like to take the vaccine are able. Remember, this is a four-phase plan and we can only vaccinate folks as supply allows. Currently, those eligible for the vaccine are health care workers, first responders and citizens 65 years and older. If you’d like to take the vaccine, you are able to sign up at http://www.vaccinate.oklahoma.gov and pre-register. The system will ask you a series of questions to determine which phase you fall into, including age, medical history and Covid-19 history. If you’re immediately eligible to take the vaccine, you will be prompted to make an appointment. Appointments are able to be scheduled each Thursday after the counties are notified of their vaccine availability for the coming week. If you are placed in a later phase to receive the vaccine, you will be notified when your phase group is eligible.
If you aren’t able to access the registration portal, you can also call your county health department or dial 2-1-1 to make an appointment. The county health departments in District 19 are:
• Alfalfa County Health Department: 580-233-0650
• Garfield County Health Department: 580-233-0650
• Grant County Health Department: 580-395-2906
• Kay County Health Department: 580-762-1641 (Ponca City) or 580-363-5520 (Blackwell)
Finally, many of you may have heard of the Cattlemen’s Congress national cattle show that’s currently taking place in Oklahoma City. This show is replacing the National Western Livestock Show (NWSS) that’s been held each year in Denver since 1906, but was cancelled this year due to Covid-19. After the NWSS was cancelled, the Oklahoma Youth Expo show staff quickly worked to plan and host this top-notch event that’s been estimated to bring a $50 million economic impact to the city as well as cattle and exhibitors from across North America. I attended the show on Friday and was pleased with the safety protocols in place to keep exhibitors, families and spectators healthy. I’m very impressed with the show and fully expect the Cattlemen’s Congress to emerge as a national show leader in the years to come.
Thank you for allowing me to be your voice at our state Capitol. Please feel free to reach out if there is anything we can help you with. You can contact me at 405-521-5630 or via email at [email protected]