This should be the last month of the first session of the 57th legislature. We’re constitutionally obligated to finish by 5 PM on May 31st. Thus, it’s fair to say that we’re in the endgame now. In addition to conference committees, the last major item on our agenda is passing a budget for the next fiscal year.
A major topic of discussion is how to utilize the surplus money toward investing in education, whether some of it ought to be devoted to a $1,200 teacher pay raise or all of it needs to be added to the funding formula. In my view, this shouldn’t be a binary choice because both options are extremely important for improving our education system. We need to ensure we’re paying our teachers at a competitive salary relative to our neighboring states. At the same time, teachers must have the tools and resources they need for their students to be successful. As budget negotiations continue during the next several days, I hope that we’ll be able to reach an agreement very soon.
There were a few really awesome events I attended this week. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Black Caucus Foundation hosted the 22nd Biennial A.C. Hamlin Awards Banquet, which is named in honor of Oklahoma’s first African-American legislator. The proceeds from the banquet are used to provide scholarships to deserving college students. On Wednesday, I really enjoyed catching up with former HD 62 Page Dean Lester at the Annual State FFA Legislative VIP Banquet. This evening, I’ll be attending Cameron University’s commencement to support and congratulate graduates of the Class of 2019.
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As always, I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone at 405-557-7374.