Thursday was the deadline to vote on bills in opposite chambers, and any Senate bills not voted on in the House are dead for the remainder of session. Much of the remainder of this session will be spent in budget negotiations, which have been ongoing throughout the year between the House, Senate and the Governor.
My first bill was signed into law this week! On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2155, which makes it illegal to feed garbage to swine being raised to sell for commercial use. Sen. Brent Howard from Altus championed this bill in the Senate, and I’m thankful for his work to pass it in the Senate chamber.
On Wednesday, another bill of mine passed the Senate. House Bill 1364 allows the State Dept. of Commerce to act in real-time to enhance economic development in rural and urban areas of the state. It does so by requiring that they review and approve career-readiness assessments that measure and document foundational workplace skills that can be offered to all public school districts to administer to students in grade twelve in the 2019-2020 school year.
I presented Senate Bill 641 before the House on Thursday. SB641 designates a section of U.S. Highway 277 in Comanche County as the “Gold Star Families Memorial Highway.” Gold Star families are the relatives of U.S. military members who died in battle.
I filed a bill amendment Thursday to also designate a portion of State Highway 5 as the “Comanche Code Talker Trailway.” This would be the portion beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 277 in Cotton County and extending east to the intersection with North 7th Street in Walters. I was honored to sponsor this bill in the House, where it passed 95-0.
House Bill 1364 received amendments in the Senate, which means it must return to the House for the new amendments to be voted on. This is a normal part of the legislative process, but can often be confusing to people outside the Capitol.
If the House rejects the Senate amendments, we next move into conference committee. The committee is comprised of members of both committees that heard the bill in their respective chambers, and they work together to collaborate on final language. Once they reach an agreement, the amended bill is sent first to its chamber of origin, and if it’s approved there, it goes to the opposite chamber for another vote before moving to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
During this busy deadline week, I was glad to have a page from District 65 to help out! Halee Piatt, a senior at Walters High School, served as a House page this week. She’s involved in yearbook and cheer, and has been the yearbook editor for the last two years and a cheer caption for one year. After high school, Halee aspires to become a dental hygienist.
House pages run messages to legislators while they are in the chamber or committee meetings. Pages also participate in a mock session, in which they learn legislative procedure and how to write, present and debate legislation.
I’m glad Halee was able to experience deadline week at the Capitol and get an up-close look at how our state government operates. Halee was an exemplary page this week, and I am confident that she’ll succeed in whatever she sets her mind to. District 65 is proud to claim her as our own!
As always, please reach out to my office with any questions, comments or concerns about legislation the House is considering. Thank you for the chance to represent your voices at the state Capitol!
Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, a Republican, represents District 65 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Grady and Stephens Counties. She can be reached at email@example.com or at (405) 557-7305.