Senator Holt’s State Capitol Report for The Tribune

Senator Holt’s last column on the 2011 legislative session was published this week in The Bethany Tribune.

State Capitol Report

May 27, 2011

by Senator David Holt

Between February 7th and May 20th, the first Oklahoma state government controlled entirely by Republicans considered over 2,000 bills, while also creating the fiscal year 2012 state budget and redrawing the legislative district lines.     Much of the focus was on education, pro-business and government reforms.    In many ways, it was a remarkable session, as reforms that were once considered rare become commonplace.  I believe your leaders kept their promises, and I know your Tribune delegation kept theirs.

The session saw major reforms in education, including the grading of schools, elimination of social promotion, and new approaches to the labor and bureaucratic underpinnings of the education system.   The Legislature also passed major business reforms, including the most significant changes to the tort and workers comp reform systems in state history.  The session also saw passage of pro-life bills, pension reform, and property tax relief.  

Redistricting led to some changes in The Tribune readership area.  House District 90, currently held by Rep. Charles Key, will move south and will no longer include any of Bethany.   Rep. Sally Kern (District 84) will gain more of Bethany and will share it with Rep. Elise Hall (District 100), who will still represent the SNU area.   I will still represent much of Bethany, but will lose a small part of the northwest corner to Senator Greg Treat (District 47).   My district will gain downtown Bethany, Bethany Public Schools, and SNU, along with central Warr Acres.  Those areas were previously represented by Senator Cliff Branan (District 40).   The new lines officially take effect after the 2012 elections.

Your Tribune delegation, involved in every piece of legislation that came to their committees or to the floor, was also especially focused on their own bills, some of which became law.

Senator Cliff Branan passed laws to save taxpayer dollars in clearing vegetation around billboards, and several bills to encourage the energy industry in Oklahoma.

Rep. Kern passed laws to eliminate the social promotion of third-graders that cannot read, to increase the consequences for those who create child pornography, and to help seniors choose appropriate long-term care.

For myself, I was the primary author of successfully enacted laws to make grand prix racing possible in Oklahoma, to change the 2012 presidential primary to March, to facilitate prosecution of sex offenders, to reform the disposition of surplus county property, and to name the Interstate 44 bridge over the Red River after President George W. Bush.   I was also a vocal advocate for efforts to restore taxpayer control over local government expenditures.

I’m proud of the overall body of work left by your Tribune delegation and the Legislature as a whole, and I look forward to continuing our efforts in 2012 to reform Oklahoma’s government for the benefit of the taxpayers. 

I want to thank The Tribune for this occasional opportunity to update you during the legislative session.   I also want to thank Gloria Quaid for her decades of service to this community, and I look forward to the continued good work of The Tribune under its new leadership.

If you ever need anything from your Tribune delegation, you can find our contact information at www.okhouse.gov or www.oksenate.gov.  I know I speak for all your legislators when I say that we are honored to serve you.   Thank you for the opportunity.

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