Farm Director, KC Sheperd, is talking with Representative Ty Burns about Oklahoma’s legislative session.
“The biggest difference this year, obviously, is with the education package being the number one,” Burns said. “It has taken all the oxygen out of the rooms, if you will; that is all we have talked about. We understand education is so important in this state, and getting our kids and our workforce and everything up to this standard is number one. It is a priority for the legislature.”
One program Burns is working on is the “Gold Star Bill,” which is aimed to provide college scholarship opportunities for kids who have lost a parent in war.
This year, the session has been exposed to the media more, Burns said, which created a few difficulties.
“There are so many falsehoods that come out, and it opens the door for pundits, if you will, just to come in and really put wrinkles in things, and so we are correcting people more than we are educating people, which always slows us down,” Burns said.
Burns said he was also working on a grant program for county roads allowing individuals to donate and receive a tax credit that unfortunately did not make it through.
“Another one that died that I was really disappointed with all the stuff that went on was, you know, Morrison in the Ag in the Classroom did the soybean as the state legume, and we got it all the way to the Senate side,” Burns said. “Then, the Senate was going through whatever they were going through with the House, and it was one of the bills that got shocked at the end and didn’t meet a deadline.”
Burns said a concurrent special session has been opened just in case.
“The reason we did this, obviously, with the education taking so long to get an agreement on, it pushed everything back,” Burns said. “So, now we are trying to plug everything in a week, that sometimes we needed a month.”
One of the tactics the executive branch tried to use this year was a veto, Burns said, in trying to force the Senate to pass the education bill.
Items such as the OSU Vet Med funding bill were vetoed, Burns said, so there is work to be done to try and override a few of those.