Hitting the ground running after Easter
I hope everyone had a blessed Easter holiday with loved ones. We enjoyed spending the long weekend with our children, friends and family.
The Senate hit the ground running Monday, though, as we have to complete committee work on House bills by Thursday. Of the more than 3,000 Senate and House bills filed in January, there are less than 900 measures still alive. We have just over 200 House bills remaining in our committees to work on this week. Of the eight House bills I’m carrying in the Senate, as of Monday, four had been reported on to the full Senate.
HB 1063 authorizes the board of county commissioners to employ information technology (IT) staff and strikes language requiring that the data processing technician’s term may not extend beyond the term of office of the board appointing them. Our county offices need continuity in their IT services. The pandemic has proven the importance of this.
HB 1064 simplifies the method by which base salaries for county officers are calculated to one method statewide. The upper limit of the county officer base salary is increased from $44,500 to $49,500. Calculation of additions to base salary are modified to be based upon gross assessed valuation rather than net valuation. The bill provides for changes in salaries and rates of pay for county officers, deputies and aides to take effect on July 1.
HB 2279 creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Remediation Program and provides definitions for terms used in the act, including Hemp Program, which is defined as the Oklahoma Hemp Industrial Reform Program and any final ruling from the USDA. The bill allows anyone licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture whose hemp is deemed noncompliant with the Hemp Program to request approval from the Department to remediate the hemp, which means selling it for use in other products. If approved, the licensee must promptly have the hemp extracted by a licensed processor into concentrated form and sampled by a certified laboratory for THC levels. If the samples are below USDA levels for THC, the hemp is compliant and can be sold commercially; if the samples are noncompliant, the Department must be notified, and the samples must be destroyed.
We want to make sure we’re supporting producers in every way possible, including helping them “recycle” unused, compliant hemp.
HB 2471 allows the Department of Agriculture to establish expiration dates and renewal due dates for pesticide applicator licenses, making the process more efficient and helping applicators get their licenses in a more timely manner.
When I’m not at the Capitol, I’m attending numerous events and meetings around our district. I recently attended the Legislative Coffee meeting at Duncan Middle School to talk about education bills working their way through the process along with other legislative business at the Capitol. Another special event I got to participate in with other legislators from the southwest delegation was the Disability Day zoom event to discuss current legislation to help those with disabilities. There are some great bills to help improve the quality of life for these individuals and ensure their rights are always protected. You can learn about these or other issues of interest to you on our Senate website at www.oksenate.gov.
As my schedule allows, I really enjoy traveling around our district and attending different meetings and events. This is a great opportunity to get to meet more people from our part of the state. If you have one coming up that you’d like for me to attend, please let me know.
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.
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