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The House Rules Committee is starting its 40-bill agenda. Thoughts and prayers are welcomed. There are a few interesting bills here, including one that would provide a cost of living adjustment for some state retirees.… #okleg #oklaed
Chairman Zack Taylor (R-Seminole) read a list of bills and asked if any members object to those bills being do-passed without discussion. Some lawmakers (and others) seem surprised. I'm hearing this used to happen a lot when Democrats were in charge. Lots of murmuring! #okleg
Floor Leader Jon Echols asks for the "consent agenda" list to be re-read: HB 3367, HB 1382, HB 2617, HB 3803, HB 3766, HB 3185, HB 4052, HB 4058, HB 4068, HB 4078, HB 4080, HB 4085, HB 4064, HB 1799, HB 3447, HB 3483, HB 3479, HB 3477, HB 2936, HB 1931, HB 1282, HB 3790 #okleg
Rep. Andy Fugate objects to 4058, 4068, 4078, 4064. They are pulled off of the consent agenda. Rep. Matt Meredith asks if normal to do this and why. Taylor: "It's because we have a rather lengthy agenda" and reiterates opportunity. "It's just a consideration of time." #okleg
Taylor: "It is in the rules. I don't know the last time it was done, but it is in the rules." Meredith: Can we get more time? Taylor: "I'll give you another couple of minutes, but we don't want to get too lengthy or we should have went through all the bills." #okleg
Rep. Fugate asks if he can be told which bills are remaining. Taylor asks if Meredith has any to remove. Meredith asks Fugate which ones he removed. Meredith: "Mr. Chairman, can I maybe add a couple to this list?" Room hoots with laughter! #okleg
Meredith asks to add HB 2870 to consent agenda. Meredith asks Taylor to read House rule being used. Taylor: "This is not a specific rule where this is outlined, but it is a common practice in parliamentary procedure." Onlookers seem torn between confusion, concern and utter joy.
Chairman Taylor reads the consent agenda list again. "Again, if there are any objections, I will take that off the consent agenda." Interestingly, I remember the days when bills went to the Rules Committee to die. But perhaps it's a new dawn ... where bills to go Rules to fly!
Meredith says "That's a lot of bills." Rep. Worthen says, "Well, you already read them all, right?" Taylor sees no objections and orders that the consent agenda to be passed.
HBs 3076, 4034, 4042 will not be heard today, Taylor says. Rep. Jim Grego now presents HB 2995:… It puts into the hands of the #okleg the sale of the Talihina Veterans Center property.
Grego wants the #okleg involved in the sale of the property by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Typically, the agency would just have the authority to sell its property. Meredith is asking several questions. Grego: "I'd like to have a mental health facility there." #okhealth
I'm reminded of what happened to Arrowhead State Park in southeast Oklahoma, which is now a Narconon facility. Narconon is a controversial drug rehab organization with ties to scientology:…
HB 2995 by Grego to allow #okleg oversight of the Talihina Veterans Center sale advances 8-0. Now HJR 1027 by Rep. John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando) comes up:… It would require equal number of signatures by congressional district for initiative petitions.
Rep. Fugate debates against. "What we're doing effectively is taking away power from the people, and members, that's a bad thing for us to do." Pfeiffer closes in favor: "Right now you can collect all the signatures required to change the Constitution inside two counties." #okleg
Pfeiffer's HJR advances 6-1, with Meredith having taken a phone call outside. Now HB 4068, which changes the Health Department commissioner's qualifications:… #okhealth
"Right now Gary Cox who is our commissioner of public health and has 40 years in public health but just doesn't have the requisite master's degree," McEntire says. "He's got plenty of experience to do this job and do it well." #okhealth
Fugate asks about #Coronavirus. It's so warm in this room, that it's probably incubating in the carpet. Sweaty!
McEntire's HB 4068 (authored by Speaker McCall, actually) advances 6-2. Now McEntire presents HB 4078, which changes the board for ODMHSAS and removes the commissioner as an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the board. ODMHSAS = #MentalHealth department. Moves 8-0.
McEntire presents HB 4064 would move ODMHSAS under the Department of Health. Fugate asks about OMES, which was pitched as efficient agency consolidation 10 years ago but is not roundly ridiculed in #okleg meetings. Moves 6-2…
McEntire presents HB 3449, which deals with health worker curriculum and training. Moves unanimously w/out questions. Shoulda been on the consent agenda? 😉…
Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) presents HB 4058, which would reconfigure the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission.…
In response to the temperature of this room, Rep. Pfeiffer and Rep. Echols have gone full Kelvin Sampson. (If you know, you know.) Image
The OESC bill advances. Now Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) presents HB 3350, which deals with cost of living adjustments (#COLA) for retired public employees like teachers, firefighters, police, etc. It's being amended to clarify its new language.
Frix's bill is said to be a House and Senate agreement, and it passes 8-0.
Here's that COLA bill:… Now HB 1299 dealing with assault is advanced. I'm writing about COLA, so I may miss some bills.
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