Columns/Opinions

Thu
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Conservation Stewardship Program signup is underway

Farmers interested in enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year have until May 10 to submit initial paperwork to their local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office.

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Thu
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Another Committee Deadline Sees Increased Budget Discussions

This Thursday was another major deadline in the Legislature. It was the final day for committees to hear any remaining Senate bills. All bills must pass at least one committee before becoming eligible to be heard on the chamber floor, so any Senate bills that weren’t heard in committee by Thursday are effectively dead for the remainder of session.

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Thu
04
Apr
Edgar's picture

Defending Life

As penned in the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers founded this nation with the strong belief that individuals are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Among those is the right to life, which influences my commitment to protecting the most vulnerable, including the unborn.

I recognize that on the emotionally charged issue of abortion, many Americans have differing points of view. But I have always come down firmly on the side of defending the unborn—as well as those who were just born. While current law acknowledges that babies born alive are considered “persons,” the same law falls short in ensuring protections and care for newborns who survived an abortion attempt.

Thu
04
Apr
Edgar's picture

House and Senate Join in Honoring State’s Veterans

After last week’s short spring break, the House is speeding up again and has begun the process of hearing Senate bills in committees. We received 429 bills from the Senate, so we have our work cut out for us before they can be considered on the House floor. Next week, I expect to present three Senate bills before their respective committees, and I’ll provide an update and explanations when they pass.

This week, the House and Senate met in joint session for the third time this year. We hosted Senate members in the House chambers to honor our service men and women for Veterans Awareness Day. The House gallery was completely packed with visitors and veterans showing their support as well. Gov. Kevin Stitt and Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell also attended and both shared remarks.

Thu
28
Mar
Edgar's picture

For the Children:   A Short Spring Break Week, and Movie Night in Tulsa

Last week was Spring Break for many Oklahomans, including our elected officials.  As a result, the Legislature enjoyed an abbreviated schedule, although they did begin consideration of bills that advanced in opposite chambers. This means that all the surviving House Bills will now be heard in the Senate, and Senate Bills in the House over the next five weeks.

 

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Thu
28
Mar
Edgar's picture

Senate Bills in House Committee, OK Youth Expo

It’s been a slow week at the Capitol, a sharp contrast to the rush of last week’s deadline. The House gathered twice this week to advance Senate bills past first and second reading so they could be assigned to various House committees.

 

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Thu
21
Mar
Edgar's picture

The More Things Change, the Less They Stay the Same

Jaded observers of Oklahoma politics often express their cynicism with the phrase, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In other words, while we may think we are making a difference, in reality, we are all just spinning our wheels.

As someone who believes in the power of people to affect transformative change, I don’t like the phrase or its implications. So, at the risk of sounding like an Oklahoma version of Yogi Berra, I am coining a new one: “the more things change, the less they stay the same.” Engaged citizens are changing and improving Oklahoma every day, even if it sometimes feels like we are having the same conversations about the same problems. In fact, sometimes change happens because we insist on having those same old conversations until we break through.

Thu
21
Mar
Edgar's picture

The Ever-Growing Debt Challenge

Last week, President Trump sent his annual budget request to Congress for consideration. While the president’s proposal is not binding, it does importantly reveal the Administration’s funding priorities for the coming fiscal year and represents a necessary step in the annual budget and appropriations process. Considering that the president’s recommendations are aspirational, some floated ideas were clearly more realistic and sensible than others. But in general, I think President Trump was on the right track to emphasize funding for the nation’s defense and to further restrain some domestic spending.

Thu
14
Mar
Edgar's picture

A Rushed and Partisan Product

By Congressman Tom Cole

Last week, House Democrats brought to the floor an enormously misguided piece of legislation that would limit free speech, weaken election security and redirect hardearned taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns. While the Democrats mistakenly called their hallmark H.R. 1 bill the “For the People Act,” a closer review and analysis of its content reveals that the legislation would be more aptly named “For the Politicians Act” or the “Welfare for Politicians Act.”

Thu
14
Mar
Edgar's picture

House Addresses Gov. Accountability, Teacher Certification Stipend

By Rep. Toni Hasenbeck

This last week has been occupied with hours on the House floor. After last week’s committee deadline, all remaining bills are now eligible to be heard by the entire House until our next deadline, March 14. We have several hundred bills to hear before then, so we’ve spent a lot of time discussing and debating on the floor.

On Wednesday, I presented one of my bills, House Bill 1360. The bill allows teachers who are up for national board certification to be awarded a stipend to begin that renewal process. HB1360 would help ease the cost of this renewal for our state’s teachers by allowing them to receive a stipend of up to $1,000 to assist with this process. This bill unanimously passed the Common Education Committee last month and I’m very pleased that it passed the House floor unanimously as well, with a 94-0 vote.

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