It’s been a while since I’ve written a weekly recap of what’s happened at the Capitol.
If this were a normal legislative session, we would’ve begun the conference committee process after passing policy bills through the opposite chamber of origin.
After over a month of working in our districts, we’re back at the Capitol to finish the 2nd Session of the 57th Legislature. Even though restrictions have been loosened to allow public access to the Capitol, there are still strict sanitation protocols that have to be followed, and I’ve worn a mask while working in the building.
We’re constitutionally obligated to pass a budget, and that’s exactly what we did this week. The budget for Fiscal Year 2021 is not perfect, but given the volatile economic situation with COVID-19, it’s a budget that minimizes adverse effects on core services. While projections called for double digit percentage cuts, this budget limits the cuts to low single digits.
Additionally, we anticipate that federal funds will help alleviate these cuts, particularly for common education, so we’re still able to protect vital programs and resources. If economic conditions improve during the next several months, then the legislature can pass supplemental bills next session to further lessen the impact of budget cuts.
I want to thank House and Senate budget leaders, fiscal staff members, and subcommittee chairs for working diligently during the past several weeks to draft a budget during these difficult times.
Civic leaders of states and municipalities across the country are making tough decisions during this unprecedented crisis. It’s easy to blame and criticize. It’s more difficult to lead and govern. Right now, the reality is that there are no good policy options because of how much uncertainty there is with COVID-19 and what the next several months will look like.
I’ll continue to do my absolute best serving Lawtonians in #OKHD62. I’m not perfect nor do I know everything, but I’ll keep working hard to serve you. Please continue to call, text, Facebook message, or email me if you have questions or concerns. And if you want to receive email updates, please let me know, as well.
We’ll keep working at the Capitol during the next two weeks to pass as many policy bills as possible. Please pray for all of our civic leaders to make the right decisions and help our fellow Oklahomans.
And finally, I want to congratulate the University of Oklahoma’s Class of 2020, who will be participating in a virtual commencement ceremony later this evening. May is traditionally when graduation ceremonies occur, and many schools have decided to celebrate graduates virtually this year. I want to encourage every graduating senior, whether you’re graduating from high school or college, to never give up and remember your possibilities.
As always, I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone at 405-557-7374.