Legislature approves rules for session

By State Rep. Cynthia Roe

On Tuesday, lawmakers gathered for our constitutionally-required Organizational Day to approve rules for the upcoming legislative session and elect leadership.

Article V, Section 26 of the Oklahoma Constitution states that the Legislature is to meet for organizational purposes on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in January of each odd-numbered year.

What we use now as Organizational Day was originally the start of session, but a 1989 ballot initiative moved the start of session to February and designated the original start day in January as Organizational Day.

The Legislature uses Organizational Day to officially meet for the first time, during which we elect legislative leadership and develop rules.

The House reelected Speaker Charles McCall of Atoka for his third term, making him Oklahoma’s longest serving House speaker.

Rep. Terry O’Donnell of Catoosa was elected to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore. In the Senate, Sen. Greg Treat was reelected to his third term and will continue to serve as President Pro Tempore.

The House and Senate each approve or disprove the legislative rules that each chamber will abide by. Lawmakers have the opportunity to propose their own amendments to the rules, which may be brought up for a vote to add to the other rules. When the rules are finalized, legislators vote on the rules.

Now that the rules have been approved and leadership has been elected, lawmakers are returning their focus to finalizing their bill drafts before the filing deadline.

The last day to file bills is Thursday, Jan. 21, and session officially begins Monday, Feb. 1.

I look forward to the start of session and continuing to work for the people of House District 42!

(Rep. Cynthia Roe, a Republican, represents District 42 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Garvin and McClain counties.)

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