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Agricultural News

Michael Kelsey with the OCA Says Oklahoma Legislative Session Rapidly Winding Down for 2022

Fri, 13 May 2022 11:53:22 CDT

Michael Kelsey with the OCA Says Oklahoma Legislative Session Rapidly Winding Down for 2022 Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, catches up with Michael Kelsey with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association to talk about the latest legislative work at the state Capitol.

“Thursday I was in a meeting, and the floor leader walked in and said, ‘hey guys, if you are going to get it done, get it done by next Wednesday’, and after that, the Republican caucus on the House side met to go over the budget,” Kelsey said. “So, all that is just to say that we are very close.”

The wheels could come off, Kelsey said, and we could be here for a few more days, but we do have that constitutional deadline the Friday before Memorial Day. Legislative work that will make it into law has to be complete before then, he added.

“So, we are very close, just maybe a week closer than the mandated deadline to adjourn,” Kelsey said.

Progress is being made on the medical marijuana issues, which Kelsey said he is excited about.

“We have just been kind of building momentum all along, and I have been optimistic,” Kelsey said.

There was a time when Kelsey said he was afraid everything would fall in, but with the hard with from the agriculture community and the coalition on this issue, they had the opportunity to sit down with leadership on both sides of the Capitol.

“There is a lot of common ground,” Kelsey said.” On the rules side of things, we have got some really good stuff and we are in the process of getting conference committee signatures, so I mean the agreement between the two divisions of the Capitol, the House, and the Senate.”

There are a few differences, Kelsey said, with getting the different divisions ironed out together. You have to go through a signature process to do that, he added.

“We are in that process on about six or seven different pieces that are really good," Kelsey said. “So, things like signage, or posting. Things that are really important to us such as bonding, or some type of funding or a process to get back land that is deserted, abandoned or taken in an illegal sense.”

There is some good stuff coming, Kelsey said, so he is very optimistic about that.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” Kelsey said. “But with this agreement that we seem to have from the Senate and the House, I think we are in a good spot.”

As for the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, Kelsey said they are going to become a stand-alone agency after Governor Kevin Stitt signed it into law.

“That is a very good thing in our minds because it allows OMMA to have that authority that they need in order to curve the illegal as well as have the regulatory authority for the industry as it matures,” Kelsey said. “Not necessarily grows, but as it matures.”

Whether we like it or not, Kelsey said the medical marijuana industry is here. As it matures as an industry, he added the regulatory agency needs the ability to respond, be flexible, and have the authority to do what they need to do.

On the budget, Kelsey said he believes they will come out with one early next week.

“Again, the wheels could come off, as we know, but if it goes as what they would like to see, it comes out next week,” Kelsey said. “Then, they go through the processes to approve it, which takes several legislative days to get that done.”

Then they will adjourn, Kelsey said, but not sine die, and allow the five days that the veto process takes. If they just completely turn out, Kelsey added, the governor has 15 days, and they can’t come back and overturn a veto because they have sine die.

“They want to be able to overturn a veto if they need to and so they will just adjourn to sine die, which will probably be the following week,” Kelsey said. “But in essence, they won’t be at the Capitol.”

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