|Businessman Sean Kouplen told City of Collinsville, GRDA, and Cherokee Nation leaders he never expected the job of Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce but accepted the job when convinced by new Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. Kouplen outlined the Stitt administration's plan to move Oklahoma up to a "Top 10" state. He noted five points of focus: 1) Government accountability 2) Education 3) Health care reform 4) Criminal justice 5) Economic development.|
|Oklahoma State Senate
-- Communications Division -- State Capitol -- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 15, 2019
Senate Review by Senator J.J. Dossett
Weve just concluded week two of the 2019 legislative session. Committees are continuing to work through hundreds of pieces of legislation ahead of the February 28th deadline for legislation introduced in the Senate.
While most of the work is still being done at the committee level, a few of the bills that have already been approved have moved to the full Senate. On Thursday, the Senate approved my legislation to ban vaping in K-12 public and private schools, just like we already ban other tobacco products.
Another bill dealing with our schools won approval Thursday morningit allows schools to keep inhalers on hand for emergency situations. These can be life-saving in the midst of a serious asthma attack. These measures now cross over to the House for further consideration.
This week we also held the first meeting of the Sportsmens Legislative Caucus. I have served as co-chair of the caucus since 2017. Hunting and fishing are an important part of our states heritage and are important to our tourism industry and economy. This caucus works to protect and promote the sportsmens traditions in Oklahoma.
Several other events took place this past week. Tuesday marked Higher Education Day at the State Capitol. Our regional colleges and universities are vital to ensuring access to higher education to people throughout our state. I was very pleased to meet with students, faculties and supporters from Rogers State University, Northeastern State University and Tulsa Community College.
Last but not least, I also want to give a shout out to the Owasso Varsity Cheer team. These students participated in their first Game Day Cheerleading competition last November and bested twelve other teams in fight song, crowd leading and band dance for the championship title. Not only did they win their first Class 6A Game Day Cheerleading State Championship, but since then, theyve also won the national competition. We honored them on the Floor of the Senate this week. Again, I want to congratulate these outstanding athletes and their coaches for their achievements.
I welcome your comments on state government and the issues before us. Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator J.J. Dossett at the State Capitol, Room 521-A, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5566.
Oklahoma House of
Representatives -- Communications & Public Affairs
Feb. 14, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Words Matter -- By State Rep. Derrel Fincher
Never doubt this. Your words matter. Even before I was elected, I learned that citizen advocacy matters. Advocacy matters because, ultimately, decisions are made by people, and they can be moved by effective words and stories that allow them to see a situation in a new light. Or, sometimes your words will help those people form their own thoughts and words to sway others.
National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in the district I represent wrote me when House Bill 1009 came before a committee on which I serve. The bill seeks to add compensation for NBCTs. For those who do not know, NBCTs are teachers who have gone through a rigorous, expensive self-reflection and evaluation process. Their emails advocating for the bill were heartfelt, personal, and detailed in how being Nationally Board Certified made them much better teachers. They also talked about the personal expense and effort of pursuing this goal. Their stories touched me and motivated me to sign on as a co-author of the bill. In Committee, I was able to call on their words and express to the committee the difference those teachers make to Oklahoma children; it was their eloquence that spoke that day.
In another case, a constituent contacted me about a potential ethics rule that would be promulgated by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. While he and I had some disagreements, his position, while impassioned, was also logical and factual. He made me think and modify my opinion. More importantly, he went to the Ethics Commission meeting and spoke against the rule. I attended the following Ethics Commission meeting where the proposed rule was to be adopted. The commissioner who had sponsored the bill spoke at length about the input she had received. During that, she mentioned the constituent by name and talked for several minutes about how his comments had made her think and reconsider her position. At the end, she said she would not submit the rule for approval. A public official was moved by the words of another Oklahoman.
On another issue, I was bombarded by email form letters, many no more than a sentence, advocating that I take a stand on one side or another of an issue. Some were unsigned, few showed thought, almost none were from constituents. These had no effect.
Like the first two cases, your words are effective when they are personal, respectful, heartfelt, and factual. Even if you do not get the result you hoped for, you made the other person think. That is always good. Your words matter.
Derrel Fincher, Representative for Oklahoma House District 11, can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7358 or via email at email@example.com.