Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Government News

March 22, 2012

Weeding Process Continues At Capitol

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — The first major deadline of the legislative session has now passed with work on House bills in the chamber completed on March 15.

We started the year with 962 bills and 26 joint resolutions filed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

In addition, there were 953 House Bills and 63 House Joint Resolutions that carried over from the 2011 session.

House members began cutting that number down during committee work over the first four weeks of session and then continued it during an additional two weeks of floor activity.

By the March 15 deadline, just 321 House Bills and Joint Resolutions passed out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives – that’s 16 percent of the total number of bills available for consideration this year when you include carryover legislation.

Now the same cycle begins on Senate bills that were sent to the House. A total of 972 bills and 45 joint resolutions were filed with 753 Senate Bills and 41 Senate Joint Resolutions carried over from the 2011 session. 

As in the House, that number has been cut down dramatically.

The total number of bills and joint resolutions filed in both chambers this year totaled 1,968, which is actually down compared to past years. In 2011, the combined number was 2,281, and in 2010 the total was 2,299. In 2009, bill filings hit a high-water mark with 2,618.

Fortunately, only a relatively small percentage of bills become law. In 2011, there were 1,185 House Bills and 66 House Joint Resolutions filed. At the end of that session, only 200 of those House Bills and one joint resolution were sent to the governor, who vetoed seven of the bills.

Out of the 2,281 House and Senate measure filed that year, just 390 became law, and roughly half of those bills were appropriation measures that must be enacted for budget reasons rather than policy changes.

While some may see those numbers and think they represent a lot of time and energy wasted on bills that never became law, I believe those figures show our legislative process works exactly as designed. Approval of new laws that impact all Oklahomans should never be an easy change to make, and the process at the Capitol is meant to weed out bad ideas and poorly designed measures.

I will keep you informed of progress on Senate measures in committee in the weeks ahead.

As always, feel free to contact me at (405)557-7365 or write me at State Capitol Office 302A, 2300 North Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

 

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Government News
  • Weeding Process Continues At Capitol

    The first major deadline of the legislative session has now passed with work on House bills in the chamber completed on March 15.

    March 22, 2012

  • DHS Reforms Advance

    This week was the last one for House bills to be considered in their chamber of origin, and we took up several major issues.

    Among the most important were measures reforming the Department of Human Services.

    March 15, 2012

  • Annual GAO Report Exposes More Duplication in the Federal Budget, Less Responsibility Coming Out of Washington

    Members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Chairman Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statements today regarding the second annual Government Accountability Office (GAO) report identifying ongoing duplication and areas for costs savings throughout the federal government.

    February 28, 2012

  • Roberts Seeks Local Control on Meth Issue

    Legislation filed by state Rep. Sean Roberts would allow local communities to impose ordinances designed to reduce meth crime.

                House Bill 2802, by Roberts, would allow towns to decide if the meth ingredient pseudoephedrine should require a prescription.

    February 24, 2012

  • Lawmakers Focus on Meth Problem

    The challenge of combating methamphetamine was a major focus of lawmakers this week. Two significant bills were voted on in House committee. One failed, and one progressed.

    February 23, 2012

  • Coburn, Burr Unveil Plan to Save Medicare, the Seniors’ Choice Act

    Today, U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) unveiled the Seniors’ Choice Act, a legislative proposal to help America’s seniors by building a stronger, more sustainable Medicare program through immediate and longer-term reforms, many rooted in long-standing, bipartisan ideas. Non-partisan experts have warned the current Medicare program is facing insolvency due to unsustainable growth, and the Seniors’ Choice Act would fix its shortcomings so that it remains a viable option for seniors participating in the program now and for future enrollees.

    February 16, 2012

  • Fallin highlights more cuts to Oklahma income tax

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin provided more details of her plan to cut the personal income tax for all Oklahomans during her State of the State address to lawmakers on Monday, but had few specifics on how she plans to pay for the ambitious proposal.

    February 6, 2012

  • Lawmaker seeks spending limit on Okla. Legislature

    An Oklahoma lawmaker is pushing legislation that would place new constitutional limits on state spending.

    Republican state Rep. Elise Hall of Oklahoma City says that Oklahoma's public sector could grow too fast without more spending limits.

    January 27, 2012

  • 2011 Wastebook Dr. Coburn Releases New Report on Wasteful Government Spending in 2011:

    U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2011” that highlights over $6.5 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted. This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government. 

     

    December 20, 2011 1 Photo

  • House unveils DHS strategy

    House Speaker Kris Steele and a bipartisan group of five representatives today unveiled the first steps of a strategy to reform the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

    The House’s aggressive, four-pronged strategy is designed to improve DHS through significant study of and potential reforms to governance structure, agency structure, personnel policy and resource allocation. The plan is in response to a shared desire between House members, agency officials and other stakeholders to improve delivery of services by DHS, particularly for children in state custody.

    October 19, 2011

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