Senate bills come before House committees

By Rep. Cynthia Roe

After the Legislature’s deadline two weeks ago to pass bills through the chamber they originated in, we took a brief break to give legislative staff time to transfer the remaining bills between chambers. We’ve now begun considering Senate bills in House committees.

As chair of the House Public Health Committee, I’m working with representatives to schedule their bills that have been assigned to my committee.

I have also authored several Senate bills and am working to schedule hearings for those bills.

We are also in the process of drafting our state budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins in July. The Legislature has about $7.9 billion to appropriate to state agencies this year.

We will continue to dedicate more than 50 percent of the overall budget to public K-12 education, and schools are also set to receive record amounts of relief funding from the federal government as part of its Coronavirus CARES Act.

Additionally, about $164 million will go toward the cost of Medicaid expansion, which Oklahoma voters approved last June.

The House and Senate are discussing restoring funding borrowed from several off-the-top sources last year during the onset of the pandemic.

We also expect to put some money into savings, as we have the past few years. This has proven to be a prudent decision, as we’ve had to navigate through the financial impacts of the pandemic and several severe weather events. Saving some now will help us be prepared for whatever the future might hold.

My office still has one spot available for a high school junior or senior to serve as a House page for a week during the legislative session. Students chosen for the program have a unique opportunity to learn more about the Legislature.

Pages are assigned for one week, Monday through Thursday, between the first Monday in February and the last Friday in May. The students work in the House chamber during daily session, run errands for representatives and staff and take part in the House Page Mock Legislature on the floor of the House chamber.

Due to the limited spots available as a health precaution during the pandemic, the House gives priority placement to seniors and then allow juniors to fill any remaining spots.

Students interested in seeing the legislative process up close may submit an application at https://okhouse.gov/Pages/Index.aspx.

As we consider bills during committees, please feel free to reach out with your thoughts on legislation. My email address is cynthia.roe@okhouse.gov and my office phone is (405) 557-7365. Thank you for the opportunity to represents 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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