Wrapping up bills in the Senate

March 10, 2021

Session is moving along quickly with us approaching another major legislative deadline this Thursday. This week, we’ll wrap up work on Senate bills in our chamber. Around 550 bills were approved in committee, and we have less than 400 more to consider. 

More than 200 House bills have already been approved in that chamber and sent over for Senate review. Next week, we’ll return to our committees to begin work on those measures. Thursday, April 8 is the deadline for committee work on House measures. 

My SB 840 increasing the cap for county agents making purchases or lease agreements without following bidding procedures from $15,000 to $25,000 has been sent to the House for further consideration. The rest of my bills will be heard in the Senate this week. 

While I’ve previously talked about some of my bills, I wanted to mention two more.

The first is an issue that has come to light during the pandemic. Currently, there is a provision in law allowing teachers paid time off if a school closes during an epidemic. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include districts’ hardworking support staff. Gov. Stitt issued an executive order last spring requesting that schools continue to pay all their employees, contractors, and support staff for the 2019-2020 school year.

However, he did not renew it for the current school year, yet some schools have still yet to return to in-person learning and their support staff have unfairly gone without pay all this time. For this reason, several legislators have put forth bills, including myself, requiring schools to continue paying their support staff during pandemics or health emergencies just like teachers. 

SB 807 directs that school support employees be entitled to pay for any time lost when a school district is closed because of an epidemic or when a closing order is issued by an authorized health officer. Given that it would be near impossible for these full-time employees to seek other employment not knowing when their district will re-open and not wanting to lose their district jobs, the school districts should continue paying them.

My other bill, SB 628, designates a section of Highway 17 near the east city limits of Elgin as the Speaker Pro Tempore Jim R. Glover Memorial Highway. Rep. Glover represented House District 65 for 26 years beginning in 1976. Serving as Speaker Pro Tempore for eight years, he holds the record for serving longer than any other Pro Tempore in the history of the state legislature.

He was so highly esteemed in his position that in 1997, he was given the title Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus, an unprecedented position of honor in the House. He was a man of great integrity and loyalty representing the interests of all his constituents.

He was a strong advocate for rural Oklahoma as well as the agriculture, cattle, and horse industries. This highway designation will forever serve as a reminder of his tremendous service to his district and state.

To stay up-to-date on bills working their way through the legislative process or to tune in to floor or committee proceedings, be sure to visit the Senate website at www.oksenate.gov.

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 Chris.Kidd@oksenate.gov.

Comanche Times
United for Oklahoma - April