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For The Children Weekly Column

Changes at Capitol, Training for Advocates Loom Before Session

January 10, 2022

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org

OKLAHOMA CITY – With the beginning of the 2nd Session of the 58th Oklahoma Legislature in less than a month, bills are being drafted by legislative staffers for lawmakers’ consideration.

Legislators filed more than 3,000 new bill and joint resolution requests. The total includes 1,772 House bills/resolutions, 1,248 Senate bills/resolutions, and additionally 2,490 bills/resolutions that carried over from 2021 which were not heard.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy will be busy in the days before the session. The first day of session is the final day of our Legislative Learning Lab (LLL). Like last year, this conference will have to be held virtually. We will share tips and knowledge of how to be effective advocates by having a better understanding of the legislative process. The LLL begins Wednesday, February 2, and will continue Thursday and Friday, with each day’s online sessions beginning at 9 a.m. and ending around noon.

The final day of the Legislative Learning Lab – Monday, February 7 – begins at 9 a.m., just three hours before the governor’s “State of the State.” The governor’s speech, which sets much of the agenda for the 2022 session, will be discussed in-depth by experts during the last session of the Legislative Learning Lab in the early afternoon.

To learn more about this conference, you can go to https://oica.org/event/2022-legislative-learning-lab/. There, you can see the schedule of speakers, the list of workshops, and register for the event at a cost of $25. The recordings of the workshops will also be available for teachers to use with lesson plans.

On another note, significant changes have occurred in leadership roles at the State Capitol. With her announcement she is seeking a statewide office, Sen. Kim David stepped down as majority floor leader. That created a chain reaction with Sen. Greg McCortney being named the new majority floor leader by Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat. Treat also announced changes to several Senate committee chairs.

  • Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, will take over as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, will be vice chair of the committee.
  • Sen. Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater, will become the General Government Committee chair. Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, will be vice chair of the committee.
  • Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus, will chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, will serve as vice chair of the committee. Treat said Daniels would serve as the newly created Joint Committee on Administrative Rules co-chair.

In the House of Representatives, Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell announced last week he was stepping down from his leadership role. A new Speaker Pro Tempore likely will be elected by representatives soon after the session begins.

You should also know that budget projections presented last month to the State Board of Equalization show there will be more than $10.3 billion available to spend for the upcoming fiscal year, and approximately $5 billion through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and CARES Act funding will also be distributed over several years. State leaders have said they would like at least $2 billion to be kept in reserves.

We wish all 48 senators and 101 representatives the best of sessions with the issues they face this year. OICA is looking forward to working with each of them on children’s policy, and we certainly are hoping the Legislative Learning Lab will help advocates navigate the system more efficiently.

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