By Rep. Scott Fetgatter
Folks, it has been a busy week at the Capitol. Many pieces of legislation aimed at improving the lives of Oklahomans have already passed through committee and await a vote by the full House of Representatives. However, one of those bills, in my opinion, could negatively impact District 16. I was also pleased to welcome a few guests to my office this past week.
FetgatterI have mentioned in a couple columns now that legislators in the House have been working tirelessly to pass legislation that would make our state IDs and driver’s licenses compliant with the federal Real ID Act. If you don’t recall, being compliant will allow Oklahomans to continue to use their IDs to fly and enter government facilities. Today, I can tell you that the House has acted. Legislation has been passed and now the bill is in the Oklahoma Senate’s hands.
A few other bills have exited committee and are likely to be heard next week. Several deal with criminal justice reform, victim’s rights and teacher pay. As you have probably heard by now, there are several teacher pay bills. The senate alone has six that have made it out of committee. Most of these bills, however, haven’t identified a payment source. I, like most of my colleagues, are anxious to get this debate started to figure out how to offer teachers a sensible, needed pay raise.
House Bill 1823… I’m not going to sugar coat it – it doesn’t look good. This bill seeks to remove a district judge position from Okmulgee County and move it to Canadian County. To be clear, they wouldn’t be moving an existing judge. Instead, they would be moving retired Judge Clever’s position. This bill was heard in a committee that I am not a part of, but I felt it necessary for your voice to be heard. So, with the chairman’s blessing, I spoke up on your behalf. I pointed out places that seemed like they could handle the loss better than Okmulgee County, but alas, the measure passed. It is now awaiting a vote on the floor, where you can bet I will be voting no.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to the guests that stopped by my office this week. To name a few, John F. Hartman, Bob Mason and Dennis Cunningham from VFW Post 1189 came by my office to donate an Oklahoman and American flag that will be displayed behind my desk. I also had the privilege of introducing Anita Nixon as the House of Representatives Nurse of the Day. It’s an honor to be able to recognize and serve both nurses and veterans so that made this week extra special.
As always, I consider it a great joy in life to serve you in the Oklahoma Legislature. If you have questions, concerns or feedback, please reach out to my office at (405)557-7373.