CapitolBeatOK reports on SB 826 here.
Today, the House version of my Senate bill to move the Presidential primary to March 5, 2012 passed the Senate. Also, my bill (SB 304) to name the Interstate 44 bridge over the Red River after President George W. Bush passed the House. Both bills are now headed to the Governor. More info on the primary can be found here and more info on the bridge can be found here. McCarville Report’s coverage is here and here.
The Governor has signed SB 170, my third bill to become law this session. SB 170 makes a common sense reform to existing law governing the disposition of surplus property at the county level.
This is the latest column by Senator David Holt in the OKC Friday newspaper, published April 15, 2011.
HISTORIC LEGISLATURE SEES UNPRECEDENTED REFORMS
by Senator David Holt
Greetings, Fridayland! Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the Oklahoma Senate.
As you read this, the Senate and House have completed committee consideration of bills that had previously passed out of the opposite chamber. A handful of those bills have already advanced to the floor and on to the Governor’s desk.
As you know, this is a historic Legislature, completely controlled by Republicans for the first time. As such, reforms that were once unprecedented have become commonplace. So far, the most significant legislation to make it all the way to statute has been lawsuit reform. Last week, Governor Fallin signed the most aggressive lawsuit reforms in state history. This will create a better environment for business, and it fulfills a promise Republicans have made for years.
The Governor has also signed two bills I authored. One makes it legal to conduct grand prix races in Oklahoma City. The second makes it easier to convict sex offenders when they violate the terms of their sentence.
Still ahead of us are many major issues, including educations reform, finalizing the budget, and drawing new Senate and House districts. Though some bills have made it to the Governor’s desk, hundreds are still working their way through the process.
One such bill is mine, SB 826. This bill reforms the process of binding arbitration, which takes the power of the local purse away from the taxpayers and their elected representatives and gives it to an out-of-state arbitrator. It has caused unsustainable budget situations in Oklahoma City and municipalities across Oklahoma. At the local level, public sector unions in Oklahoma are some of the most powerful in the nation. SB 826 tries to restore some balance. Not surprisingly, the AFL-CIO is fighting the bill, but I will continue to stand with the taxpayers.
Thank you for your interest in the issues facing our community. If you ever need anything, or have an opinion to share, simply contact me through the information that appears on this editorial page every week. Thank you again for the honor of serving our community.
SB 170, which makes a common sense reform to an existing law governing the disposition of surplus property at the county level, passed the House this week and is on the Governor’s desk awaiting her signature.
The Governor has signed my first two bills into law.
The first is SB 160, which allows for grand prix races in Oklahoma. It was previously well-explained by the Oklahoma Gazette here.
The second is SB 282, which is explained here. Basically, it makes it easier to prosecute sex offenders when they violate the terms of their sentence.
Last week, Senator Holt participated in the ribbon cutting of U.S. Fleet Tracking, an Oklahoma City success story.
At the ribbon cutting, remarks were made by Governor Mary Fallin and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The Oklahoman reports on the upcoming consideration of SB 826, Senator Holt’s binding arbitration bill, here.
I’m often asked about the total compensation in Oklahoma City for union employees. This is a document from the City of Oklahoma City that illustrates how almost 2,000 union employees in Oklahoma City are costing the taxpayers just under $100,000 each:
The sheer numbers are pretty amazing. Consider the continued outrage over superintendent salaries in Oklahoma, or the occasional outrage over Congressional salaries. Then consider that one could add together all of Oklahoma’s superintendents, plus all the Congressmen and U.S. Senators in America, and they are still outnumbered almost 2-to-1 by the number of union employees in Oklahoma City making almost $100,000. The average statewide for similar union employees is probably a little less than this, in the $80-90,000 range. For perspective, the average per capita income for all Oklahomans is about $32,000.
Of course, if this is what the taxpayers or their elected representatives want, then so be it. And as I always say, we should do all we can for our public safety officers, but not more than we can afford. We have crossed that line because in 1994, much of the power to spend your tax dollars was taken away from the people and handed to an arbitrator (usually an out-of-state attorney). My bill, SB 826, reforms this practice known as “binding arbitration,” and puts a little power back where it belongs, with the taxpayer.