New state budget finalized

by Chris Kidd

With one week remaining in this legislative session, I’m happy to announce the Senate and House have finalized a state budget for the new fiscal year. Legislative leaders in both chambers have agreed to a fiscally conservative $12.5 billion budget that will fund state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1. My Senate colleagues and I will vote on this budget soon before adjourning this legislative session by Friday, May 31.

This budget makes targeted investments in education, public safety, infrastructure and health care. It takes into account the elimination of the state portion of the grocery sales tax and includes funding that will help our public colleges, universities and state parks tackle years of deferred maintenance. I’m also pleased we have set aside $45 million in disaster relief funding to help communities like Marietta unlock FEMA funds to recover and rebuild after a tornado hit the city.

The Senate recently fast-tracked one of my bills to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk. House Bill 3693 makes some changes to who gets to appoint members of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission to add legislative oversight. Under this bill, the governor will get to appoint five members of the commission, one person from each congressional district. The Senate president pro tempore and the House speaker would each get to appoint two members. In recent years, the Legislature has changed the membership of many state boards and commissions to follow this same model.

I presented another executive branch nominee in the Senate this week. The governor appointed Suzie Brewster, of Marietta, to serve on the Murray State College Board of Regents. I introduced her to the Senate Education Committee for her first confirmation hearing. The full Senate will vote on her confirmation and dozens of others soon.

I also wanted to let the residents of Love County know about some disaster assistance resources offered by the state and federal government following the recent tornadoes. FEMA offers rental assistance for temporary housing and lodging expense reimbursement to tornado survivors who sustained damage to their homes. FEMA also offers home repair assistance and aid to cover the cost of vehicle repairs, medical expenses and items such as food, water, prescriptions, medical supplies, personal hygiene products and more. To apply, visit or call 1-800-621-3362.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is also accepting applications for disaster unemployment assistance from Oklahomans who lost their job or lost business as a result of the tornadoes. If the storms damaged or destroyed your workplace or if you cannot work because of a storm-related injury, you could be eligible for these benefits. Self-employed workers may also be eligible. For more information visit,, call 405-525-1500 or visit the Oklahoma Works American Job Center in Ardmore.

Thank you again for the privilege of serving our district and the state of Oklahoma in the Senate. If I can be of any assistance, you can reach me at (405) 521-5563 or