OKFB's LeeAnna McNally Says Budget Woes Top List of Concerns in Last Few Weeks of SessionFri, 29 Apr 2016 21:33:21 CDT
LeeAnna McNally, director of national affairs at Oklahoma Farm Bureau, says there is still some uncertainty about how the final days of the 2016 Oklahoma legislative session may play out. At the top of the list of concerns - balancing the state’s budget.
She says there are different opinions when it comes to the feasibility of passing a budget before the legislature is set to adjourn Sine Die on May 27.
“We hosted Rep. Earl Sears at one of our local Farm Bureaus in Osage County for a breakfast the other day, and he was confident that his chamber will be done in time,” she says. “But when you talk to some in the Oklahoma state Senate, they’re not as confident as Rep. Sears was.
“Then the governor of course has her position, so you’re really just juggling with those three to continue to try to work on a budget. No one wants to go to a special session; however, there are certainly some important thought-out reforms that need to be made on both chambers.”
McNally says there are a few bills still on the OKFB radar, including those trying to increase ad valorem taxes.
“We’re proud, as Oklahomans in the farming and ranching community, that we have some of the lowest ad valorem tax rates in the country,” she says. “Oklahoma Farm Bureau has long-standing policy that will continue to try to keep the ad valorem taxes as low as possible.”
The H2A visa bill is another issue OKFB is busy advocating for. It would allow foreign farm workers who come during custom harvesting season to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
“There were changes in the Federal Motor Carrier Act that prompted us to need to put into place this new legislation so farmers and ranchers across the state of Oklahoma will continue to be able to have an adequate workforce to haul whatever commodities they produce,” McNally says.
Legislation to eradicate the feral hog population in Oklahoma is also still making its way through the chambers.
“You’ll see feral hogs in each corner of the state, so it’s piquing interest of everyone at this point,” McNally says. “The legislation that’s out there now would allow farmers and ranchers the complete opportunity to eradicate feral hogs.”
Click on the LISTEN BAR below for McNally’s complete legislative update.
McNally will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for the weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m.
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