This week we wrapped up the third-reading deadline for legislation to pass from its opposite chamber. Once a bill passes its opposite chamber, it can move to the governor if it’s unamended.
If bills are amended in the opposite chamber, they must return to their chamber of origin for a vote to accept or reject the changes. If amendments are rejected, the bills have one final possibility to advance in the current session – through the conference committee process. This is where members from both the House and Senate committees where the bills were originally considered to gather to approve or disapprove final language. Many measures die at this crossroads, but a few survive.
The Senate approved House Bill 2684 this week and I am proud to see this bill pass. We want to do everything in our power to protect our first responders, second responders and emergency workers. I hope this bill will encourage Oklahomans to pay better attention to the roadways, and I want to thank Senator Stephens for running this bill to recognize John Mills’ legacy.
In the meantime, the Legislature is continuing to work on our state budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which starts July 1. I’m told negotiations this year are some of the toughest yet. I’ve been told that happens when there’s more money to spend as the arguments grow over where funding will have the best effect. Still, the House is moving forward on the budget.
The House has second-read several bills scheduled for our Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget, and the chairs for our A&B subcommittees met this week. We have a record amount of about $12.6 billion to appropriate, but we still have to negotiate where this money goes, how much we’ll leave in state savings, and how much we will return to taxpayers in the form of tax relief The House will continue to examine priorities for state dollars as we move toward the close of the session. Accomplishing a balanced budget is the one thing we are constitutionally required to do as a Legislature each year. I plan to keep you updated as we work through the budget.
It is truly an honor and privilege to represent you at the State Capitol. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any concerns at 405-557-7302 or neil. email@example.com.
Rep. Neil Hays, a Republican, serves District 13 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers McIntosh, Muskogee and Wagoner counties.