Just six days before the start of the legislative session, the state Senate is releasing its list of priorities.
Lawmakers say they’re in a better position this year than they have been in recent years, with an estimated $200 million more to work with. But they say, everyone has their hands out to get a piece of that pie.
“I’ve never had a more optimistic feeling headed into session,” said Senator Greg Treat (R) President Pro Tempore. “The theme of the session in large part is restoring trust in the public that they can have confidence in the legislative process, restoring trust with the governor’s office and our counterparts in the House. We’ve got a long way to do that, but we want to have the public trust.”
The Senate plans to do that by focusing on four priorities:
That includes more funding for classrooms, teachers and restoring five-day school weeks.
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“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. You hear that time and again from business recruiters. It’s also been a hardship for parents trying to find an extra day of childcare during the workweek,” said Treat.
Senator Kim David (R) Tulsa added, “Education investment continues to be a top priority. We took historic steps last year in giving a 15-percent teacher pay raise. We plan on protecting that investment.”
The agenda doesn’t mean this is all the Senate will also focus on, but these are lawmakers’ priorities for the upcoming session.
“We wanted to lay out a target, a vision for where we wanted to take the state of Oklahoma. And we wanted to draw the target bright,” said Treat.
The legislative session officially begins Monday.