Wrapping up the legislative session

by Marcus McEntire

The House adjourned Sine Die on Thursday, after completing a packed session.

First, we passed one of the most comprehensive budgets in state history. We appropriated historic levels of funding for common education - $3.2 billion total. This will allow us to lower classroom sizes in kindergarten and first grade to give our students a better foundation in core subjects that will help them during the remainder of their school years. We gave more money for textbooks and to our classrooms this year as well as additional per-student funding. We also equalized funding for schools in low property value areas.

We fully restored money to transportation and other core areas such as public safety and health care after having to dip into these funds a bit last year during the onset of COVID. There is no functional budget reduction for any agency in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

We fully funded the Medicaid expansion that voters approved last June. I also was able to successfully get legislation in statute that puts some guardrails around the governor’s managed care program. This will help ensure patients get the care they need and that health care providers are promptly reimbursed for their services.

We set the framework for broadband expansion in unserved areas of the state. We helped protect utility customers from large bills after the record winter storm. We addressed issues to ease driver’s license backlogs.

We also granted tax relief this year to all individual taxpayers, and we restored the Earned Income Tax Credit to low- and moderate-income workers. We reduced corporate taxes in an effort to attract more businesses and jobs to our state. We also increased economic development funds to attract additional new jobs to the state. 

We replenished our savings accounts so we are prepared for the next emergency or economic downturn.

We passed Second Amendment protections, anti-abortion bills, religious freedom measures and a measure that will protect our state from overreach by the federal government. Also, we added an extra day for in-person early voting.

We modernized our state civil service system to improve efficiencies and save taxpayer money. We completed our state legislative redistricting plan, and will return in the fall in brief special session to complete congressional redistricting once final Census data is received.

This is just a high-level snapshot of some of the work accomplished this session.

I authored many House and Senate bills or resolutions this session; 18 have been approved by the governor. One became law without the governor’s signature. One was vetoed. Four have been sent to the governor but have not been signed as of this writing.

Measures not advanced this session can still be brought forward during the second session of the 58th Legislature, which begins next February. 

In all, it’s been a productive year.

Even though it is now the interim, I am still available should anyone need assistance. Please feel free to contact me at marcus.mcentire@okahouse.gov or (405) 557-7327.

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