Legislative Deadline for Filing Bills is Jan. 19
January 16, 2023
“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
OKLAHOMA CITY – The 1st Session of the 59th Oklahoma Legislature will convene on Monday, February 6.
On that day, lawmakers will hear from Gov. Kevin Stitt in his fifth “State of the State” address, which will outline his goals and policies he believes necessary to achieve those goals. Many of those suggestions will come from bills filed by state senators and representatives to be considered over the four months the Legislature is in session.
On Thursday, January 19, Oklahomans will learn what ideas our 149 legislators have in store for consideration. That deadline is the final one in the months-long process of requesting and drafting bills for the upcoming legislature. In recent years, more than 2,000 ideas have been submitted for consideration.
If you would like to review these ideas which have been submitted, you can go to okhouse.gov or oksenate.gov and click on the drop-down link for legislation to review what will be up for consideration in 2023.
We have heard many ideas through news outlets so far for bills which were filed before this deadline. I want to remind those who are reading this column that usually only about 10 percent of the bills starting off in session are actually sent to the desk of the governor. Many that are similar are combined into one bill, while others are not even heard to begin within the committee process. In fact, in most year, less than half of the bills even make it past the first deadline of a required hearing by a legislative committee.
The bills which are considered are reviewed thoroughly by the lawmaker and the legislative staff working to draft the idea so it will conform to Oklahoma statute, or the division of the laws which we must follow as citizens.
I want to thank those legislative staff members who worked over the holiday on Monday, giving up time with their families and friends, to make certain this deadline is met. There are many men and women behind the scenes that are dedicated to their jobs and the professionalism to ensure that every bill submitted is what the lawmaker has requested.
As the session proceeds, lawmakers will field questions about their ideas, but rarely do they hear about very few of the ideas. In fact, lawmakers seldom hear from people in their districts, called constituents, about the different policies unless brought to attention by the media or associations whose members might be impacted by a legislative bill.
If you have the time, I recommend going to the Legislature’s websites and using the search tool to look at areas of interest. If you type in “education” for a search, you will see quite a few bills filed, compared to another word which might be less used.
You can also search through the different topics that fall into the search guidelines if you prefer to do it that way. Be prepared to read quite a bit with the different bills depending on which topic you search. We certainly encourage those who are child advocates to look at the different areas of concern with the variety of topics.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) expects many bills to be considered under the topics of foster care, juvenile affairs, adoption, and child well-being issues. We will continue to update you about those ideas as they move through the process. If you want to follow the bills we track, sign up at https://www.oica.org to receive our newsletter.