After taking a break for my family immediately after our session ended on May 26, I wanted to update you.
Of the 1,991 House bills and joint resolutions introduced this year in our regular session, 213 were sent to the Governor. Gov. Stitt also received 203 of the 1,273 Senate bills and joint resolutions introduced.
This session, the House focused on quality education and student success. The state will allocate just over $1 billion in fiscal year 2024 to higher education. This is the largest increase in state funding to colleges and universities in recent years, increasing by $130 million, or 14.9%.
Higher Education Senate Bill 28X appropriates $129 million to the State Regents for Higher Education to be used by state colleges and universities in the following manner: $17.4 million for the incentive scholarship program and teacher employment incentive program; $12.5 million to establish the National Guard Educational Assistance Fund; $48.9 million for faculty pay raises; $20 million to expand engineering programs; $5 million for application-based health care; $12.5 million to develop a critical workforce development initiative; $12.5 million to ensure student success and institutional excellence; and $200,000 to establish a food pantry.
House Bill 1013X authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to utilize $79 million from the Legacy Capital Financing Fund to construct or expand animal teaching hospitals and related facilities.
House Bill 2863 creates a new state agency called the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Medicine Authority (OSUVMA), governed by a board of eight members, which will oversee and support the Veterinary Medicine Education programs at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. The authority may acquire facilities to teach and train students, conduct veterinary medical and biomedical research, and establish an animal hospital or clinic.
Senate Bill 840 updates the state’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Rights Act. Some of the most important updates in the measure include: Allowing a college to establish agreements with a third-party entity to facilitate NIL activities on its behalf; Allowing colleges and universities to adopt reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions to prevent a student’s NIL activities from interfering with team activities, school operations, and the use of school facilities; Allowing a college or university to be compensated for the use of its logo or facilities in relation to NIL activities; and Prohibiting a collegiate athletic association from punishing a college or university team because a team member earns compensation for NIL or because a team member has violated the athletic association’s rules for NIL.
I want to thank every constituent of House District 13 who called my office, wrote me an email, or came by the Capitol this year. As your state representative, it’s my responsibility to represent you at the Capitol, which I take very seriously.
Hearing directly from constituents about policy makes me aware of issues and concerns I may not have considered, which helps me make more informed voting decisions in committees and on the House floor.
Again, thank you for electing me to serve District 13. 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 email@example.com.
Rep. Neil Hays, a Republican, serves District 13 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers McIntosh, Muskogee and Wagoner counties.