Capitol Corner

by Gus Blackwell

Last week was an exciting and hectic time at the Capitol. The House and the Senate were treated to a rare concert by the state FFA choir and Thursday marked the deadline for bills to be passed out of the opposite chamber. This meant a flurry of activity in the House, but the Senate was sedate.

The entire week young people wearing the blue suede jacket with the gold patch were seen all over Oklahoma City. On Tuesday they presented a concert in the Capitol that is always a tremendous treat. On Wednesday, legislators were able to spend time with FFA leaders at an inaugural dinner to find out more about this great program.

Later that night the audience was able to witness a fantastic program that featured Miss Oklahoma from Moreland. Travis Jett, the outgoing FFA president from Laverne also hit a home run with his farewell address. To top off the evening the Guymon FFA won a new Ford pickup. Hundreds of students from throughout the state then received their state FFA Degree. Congratulations to those that received their degrees and thanks to those who came by the Capitol to visit me.

The House considered over 100 bills during the week. Thursday was fast paced as about 40 bills were passed in six hours. Senate Joint Resolution 13 was also passed that would allow Oklahoma voters to decide if the Oklahoma Constitution should be amended to protect the right to fish and hunt. The resolution declares that hunting trapping and fishing are a valued part of our heritage and will forever be preserved for the people.

The House was also able to pass legislation that contained three key pro-life reforms. Although the individual bills had been killed in the Senate, the contents of the individual bills were put into a bill by Rep Fred Morgan, SB 807. The bill contains reforms that would require informed consent for an abortion to be performed. A woman would need to be given all pertinent information about fetal development, the potential consequences of abortion and the gestational age of the unborn child. The bill also requires parental notification before an abortion can be performed on a minor. It also has language that is modeled after federal legislation passed last year that makes it a crime to cause the death of an unborn baby if a women is attacked who is pregnant.

The House also passed legislation to improve student achievement and improve education. Senate Bill 982, by Rep Lance Cargill, R-Harrah would set new standards for student achievement and accountability from schools. The bill would enact core curriculum standards for high school students in math and other course areas. The measure would provide for high stakes testing requirements for middle and high school students. A worker's compensation insurance bill passed in about 20 minutes. Far less than the five hours it took the last time we took up the bill. It is imperative that a meaningful workers compensation bill be passed to enable business growth in Oklahoma. The Senate was not so fortunate with this topic. When the president of the Senate, Lt. Governor Mary Fallin, took the chair to consider a workers compensation bill in the Senate, there was a walk out by Senate Democrats. As a result the Senate did not pass the House's workers compensation insurance bill. However, the bill that passed the House will go to a conference committee for both chambers to work on during May.

Boise City News
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Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
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