The week in review: March 17, 2017
From Caldwell and Associates
It was spring break for schools across the state, which meant a short week for the legislature with both the House and Senate adjourning early. The week consisted of floor hearings and budget discussions. While the specifics of the budget are still being discussed, one thing is almost certain – cuts to agency budgets.
The Senate passed two measures addressing the income tax cuts.
SB0170, authored by Sen. Roger Thompson, would eliminate the income tax cuts.
SB0130, authored by Sen. Marty Quinn, would only trigger a tax cut if state revenue grows to $7.5 billion. The measure failed earlier in the week and passed after a motion to reconsider.
Both measures now move to the House for consideration.
Education advocates were at the Capitol urging legislators to pass the education budget by the legally required but never followed April 1 deadline.
Discussions on whether or not a teacher pay raise would be funded this year continued, with House and Senate leaders taking different approaches to the issue.
Next week brings with it another deadline. Bills have to be off the floor of the chamber of origin by March 23 in order to continue to advance through the legislative process. The bills passing off the floor will move to the opposite chamber for consideration, beginning with a committee hearing.
Three measures tracked by the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma advanced this week.
SB0147 passed the Senate by a vote of 43 to 0. Authored by Sen. Mike Schulz, the bill modifies the Oklahoma Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Act. It allows municipalities to issue a waiver of the setback requirements for animal feeding operations and extends the waiver to changes in ownership of the property.
HB1326 passed the House by a vote of 55 to 39, as amended. Authored by Rep. Casey Murdock, the bill prohibits the operation of drones over private agricultural property and provides exemptions.
HB1392 passed the House by a vote of 80 to 2. Authored by Rep. John Pfeiffer, the bill reauthorizes the Oklahoma Wildlife Diversity Program checkoff.
All three measures will move to the opposite chamber for consideration.
Another bill important to the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma, HB1537, which creates the Water for 2060 Revolving Fund for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, is scheduled on the House floor calendar.
A complete list of measures monitored for the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma is available here.