By Logan Phillips,
Representative, House Dist. 24
Logan PhillipsThe second week of session has been incredibly fast-paced and I’ve hit the ground running. On Tuesday, I was able to visit with several students and faculty members from our state’s public college and universities, who were in town for Invest in Higher Ed Day. I was grateful for the opportunity to visit with them and talk about the important role that higher education plays in our state’s economy.
On Wednesday, the House Transportation Committee unanimously passed House Bill 2472, a bill by House Speaker Charles McCall that would allow for fines of up to $10,000 against companies whose trains block interactions and traffic for more than 10 minutes. Although trains moving across our state is indicative of a healthy economy, they can cause a number of problems. Stopped trains can block emergency vehicles and cause headaches for commuters on their way to work or shoppers from getting to businesses. HB2472 gives teeth to an issue that Speaker McCall has attempted to address without legislation for several years, and I applaud his effort.
Also on Wednesday, the House passed House Bill 2597, otherwise known as constitutional carry. The bill promotes carry for citizens who are not felons, adjudicated with mental illness or have domestic violence convictions. The bill also prohibits illegal aliens from possessing firearms. This bill does not override the right of companies and universities to decide their own carry guidelines and does not change federal law, such as requiring background checks for purchase. The state-issued Self Defense Handgun License program would remain in place for persons that still wish to obtain a license so they could carry in other states in accordance with their laws.
There were good arguments both for and against the bill, but I heard overwhelming support of the bill from the people of District 24 and I was proud to vote for constitutional carry. HB2597 passed the House 70-30. Now the House has done its duty to protect the Second Amendment. I encourage the Senate to do the same.
This week, I picked up authorship on House Bill 1897, which was brought forward by Rep. Carl Newton from Cherokee. This bill allows state parks to use money from their gate entrance fees for any aspect of park upkeep. If one of our state parks needs an extra janitor to maintain the area, they should be able to use money from their gate fees to pay for that employee. The bill has been transferred to the Appropriations and Budget Committee and I hope to have it heard next week.
The State Capitol belongs to the people of Oklahoma, and I want to encourage many of you to come visit if you’re able. I encourage high school-age students to apply for our Page Program. Pages work in the House chamber for a week, where they run errands for legislators and House staff and take part in mock legislature. The Page Program is a valuable opportunity for our young students to get an up close look at the legislative process and learn more about how our government operates. If you are a veteran in District 24, my office wants to honor you on the House Floor as Veteran of the Week and thank you for your service to our country.
If you’re a citizen of District 24, I encourage you to reach out to my office and share your opinions. I was elected to represent the people, not the special interests, at the Capitol, but in order to represent your beliefs, I need to hear from you first. Feel free to contact my office at (405) 557-7306 to share questions, comments or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.
Rep. Logan Phillips, a Republican, represents District 24 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Hughes, Okfuskee and Okmulgee Counties.