Carl's Capitol Comments
Working daily on the education bill
April 19, 2023
The House and Senate are still working to come to consensus on an education plan that will add more funding to public schools, reward teachers and give parents more choices for their children. I know a lot has been said back and forth, and it's taking longer than we hoped. But we are working on this daily, and we still have plenty of time to produce a good product. It's sometimes messy when you live in a glass house where people get to see the work in its gritty detail, but it's better to be transparent. Hopefully, we will all be able to live with the final result.
Last week was the deadline for all Senate bills to be heard in House Committees other than Appropriations & Budget, which has until April 19 to finish.
I passed three Senate bills in committee.
Senate Bill 947 would add free work-zone safety and first-responder awareness to teenage drivers' training courses. We want those just getting their licenses to know how to react when they see an emergency vehicle and to also make sure they know to watch for and be respectful to those working in work zones on our roads.
Senate Bill 976 would create an invasive species task force. I'm working with Sen. Murdock to examine solutions to fight the encroachment of Eastern red cedars and other invasive species that our devastating our land. Something must be done.
Senate Bill 984 would allow the sales tax on automobiles to be calculated based on the difference between the new purchase price and the trade in value instead of consumers having to pay the full sales tax on the new purchase price alone. This bill passed subcommittee last week and this week passed the full A&B Committee.
With committee deadlines in the rearview, we now move straight to the floor to hear Senate bills. In the meantime, we are finalizing House bills that are coming to the Senate chamber.
Also last week at the Capitol, we observed Oklahoma National Guard Appreciation Day. In a joint session of the Legislature, we recognized and honored the courage and bravery of our Guard members who have served our state and nation in domestic missions and global conflicts. I'm grateful for their commitment and dedication and their willingness to risk all in defense of our safety.
The Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry also hosted its annual Agriculture Day. This longstanding tradition is one I look forward to each year. It gives legislators and the general public the opportunity to discuss the diversity and importance of agriculture in our state.
In addition, I got to meet with several students who have received college tuition assistance through the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, or Oklahoma's Promise. They told success stories and what college has meant for them. Without this program they would not have been able to attend.
This past Friday, Sen Murdock and I held a meeting with many concerned constituents in Major County regarding water concerns. We had the Oklahoma Water Resources Board give the law and guidelines regarding water use and drilling. This is just a beginning to see what we can do to solve a very important issue. We can do without a lot of things but water is not one of them. I am in hopes we can find an amiable answer that will protect the Cimarron Terrace Aquifer and enable those in the area to receive the water needed to meet their needs.
As always, if I can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me. You may reach me by email at [email protected], or phone me at 405-557-7339. God bless you and the State of Oklahoma.