Even though the interim continues at our State Capitol, it is still full of activity. With various interim studies, working groups and meetings occurring daily and a deadline of Friday, November 8 for all interim studies to be complete, work continues at a steady pace at 23rd and Lincoln.
My committees have had hearings for several interim studies. In Education, we’ve looked at textbook adoption and funding reforms, how best to use CLO excess revenue for schools, professional development requirements for school districts, access to arts education, summer feeding programs for youth, and HB 1017 school mandates. The Education Committee also has heard presentations on personalized learning and the common education building equalization fund. In the Appropriations Committee, we’ve studied innovating state capital asset management.
You can find the presentations from these different meetings at www.oksenate.gov under Committees and Interim Studies as well as the schedules for these and other meetings.
This month, the Ag Committee will also be studying farm to table reforms and urban agriculture.
The appropriations subcommittees will be holding budget hearings with the various state agencies over the next couple of months. This week, the Public Safety and Judiciary subcommittee met with the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Supreme Court and District Courts. These are public meetings and can be viewed live on the Senate website.
While most bills go into effect July 1 and November 1, others become law throughout the year. This past session, I co-authored SB 280, which became law on October 1. This will greatly benefit the long-term care facilities in our district. It directs the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to modify its incentive reimbursement rate plan for nursing facilities to one that focuses on improving resident outcomes and quality of life. OHCA is required to establish an advisory group consisting of consumer, provider and state agency representation to recommend quality measures to be included in the pay-for-performance program and provide ongoing feedback. Initially, the program will be based on improvements in the percentage of long-stay, high-risk residents who develop pressure ulcers, lose too much weight, develop a urinary tract infection or receive an antipsychotic medication. The new law also adds five long-term care ombudsmen at DHS; increases the personal needs allowance for residents to $75 per month; authorizes facilities, beginning January 1, 2020, to implement 24-hour based staff scheduling; increases the direct care service rate to 2.9 hours per resident per day; prohibits nursing facility administrators from being included in the direct-care staff to resident ratio; and beginning January 1, 2020, requires clinical nursing facility employees to receive at least four hours of Alzheimer’s or dementia training per year.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Lawton Fort Sill Retirement ceremony and appreciation day (RAD) with other area legislators. This was a special event honoring those who have had a career serving our country in the military and now are retiring from service. It was also an opportunity for military personnel to catch up with their fellow veterans, get medical advice, legal guidance on wills and other matters, and learn about programs they qualify for that they may not be aware of. I want to thank everyone who made this a great event and a special day for these wonderful servicemen and women.
Our local group of legislators also had the privilege of meeting with the Lawton Business Women at the Capitol. We met with Yvonne Landmark, Christina Woodson, Linda Mashburn, Laurie Humphrey and Catherine Wright.
On Monday, we also attended the Comanche County Retired Educators luncheon. Our retired teachers deserve and want a cost of living adjustment. I will continue to be an advocate for our retired educators and protecting their pensions.
I’m honored to have recently been appointed by the President Pro Tem to serve on the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development Board, the governing board for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. OCAST is the state’s technology-based economic development agency. They assist start-ups and entrepreneurs in turning their innovative ideas into commercial products. They also provide funding for internships between the business community and our state’s colleges and universities while furthering STEM education statewide. You can visit ocast.ok.gov to learn more about this great agency.
At the State Senate, I can be reached by writing to Senator Chris Kidd, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 427, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, emailing me at email@example.com, or by calling (405) 521-5563 and speaking to my assistant Suzanne Earnest.