Capitol Week In Review: Lawmakers Have Busy Week Ahead Of First Session
Oklahoma City, OK - Monday is the first official day of the legislative session, but this was a busy week preparing for it.
This was a week where the state’s largest agencies presented their budget proposals to lawmakers, and the week where lawmakers discussed their priorities for the legislative session.
The State Department of Education is asking for $440 million more than it got last year. That would raise the annual budget for education to $3.35 billion.
“We would ask for an investment in professional development for our teachers. We also need to mentor our new teachers and then have growth and leadership opportunities for them,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.
The Oklahoma Education Association is not ruling out another walkout of the state doesn’t come up with another $400 million for education. The state is only bringing in about $200 million more than last year.
“We can’t threaten walkouts and that kind of stuff. That’s not smart. That’s not good,” said Governor Kevin Stitt.
Still lawmakers in the House and Senate, Republican and Democrat, say they will increase funding for education. But Republicans want something in return, five-day school weeks.
“On the national stage when you’re trying to recruit business, when you’re trying to get people to invest in Oklahoma, one of the big impediments to that is this impression that all of our schools are four-day school weeks,” said Senator Greg Treat, President Pro Tempore.
Lawmakers also discussed criminal justice reform to reduce the prison population and healthcare as their priorities.
We should learn more about the governor’s agenda during his state of the state speech Monday.