Government reforms, education highlight Senate GOP’s 2019 agenda
OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate Republicans will increase accountability in state government by creating a legislative budget office and will protect and honor the state’s $2.9 billion investment in education as part of their 2019 legislative session.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat and members of the GOP Caucus on Tuesday announced a four-point agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
“Our agenda is simple and precise but reflects four important areas that will have tremendous long-term impact for Oklahoma,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “We’ll have more budget transparency by creating a legislative watchdog to give lawmakers more information as we write the budget and measure the success of state programs. Education investment and reform are essential elements of our agenda too because we know they are key to our state reaching its full potential. Finally, advancing criminal justice reform by supporting diversion programs will impact many areas of our state in a positive way. With this agenda, we’re working toward helping Oklahoma achieve a better and brighter future.”
Treat said the Senate GOP agenda has a lot in common with 2019 goals so far indicated by Governor Kevin Stitt and leaders in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
“More cooperation between the Senate, the House and the governor’s office is great news for Oklahoma because we’re all collaborating around ideas that will make a difference long-term for Oklahoma,” Treat said.
Majority Floor Leader Kim David, R-Porter, who led the GOP agenda working group during the interim session, said the streamlined agenda highlights important issues critical to the success of Oklahoma.
“Our agenda reflects our commitment to making a long-lasting impact for Oklahoma,” David said. “Senate Republicans want the Legislature and the public to have more tools to hold agencies accountable. We also value students and teachers and will keep our commitment to both groups as we work on policies that support teachers and help students achieve their potential.”
Senator Roger Thompson, Senate appropriations committee chairman, said these priorities will be reflected in the Senate’s efforts during the budget negotiations.
“As we work on the budget you’ll see the priorities in this agenda reflected in what the Senate advocates for during budget negotiations,” said Thompson, R-Okemah. “Our economy is doing well, and coupled with tough choices made in the last few years, the state budget picture is better. The final revenue numbers remain to be seen, but we’re cautiously optimistic.”
The agenda is as follows:
- Oklahoma Senate Republicans will establish a legislative budget office to provide greater accountability and transparency of taxpayer dollars.
- Oklahoma Senate Republicans will add more accountability to state government by giving the governor authority to put into place the right leaders at state agencies to turn Oklahoma around.
- Oklahoma Senate Republicans will honor and protect the $2.9 billion investment in our students and teachers, and we will restore 5-day school weeks, providing for reasonable exemptions, to enhance student outcomes and repair Oklahoma’s national reputation.
- Oklahoma Senate Republicans will improve access to and provide funding for diversion programs to further criminal justice reform.