The Oklahoma State House and Senate fulfilled their constitutional duty, meeting separately then again in a joint session to kick off the 58th Legislature Monday.
The organizational day began with another term as speaker for Atoka Republican Charles McCall. It's his third as the leader of the House.
“Pandemics, budget, tricky politics, they really can’t stop us from being positive,” McCall told the chamber. “Only we can control that.”
Across the rotunda in the Senate, Oklahoma City Senator Greg Treat was also re-elected as president pro tem.
“I challenge you to be curious and not judgmental,” Treat told his chamber. “Amongst ourselves we can learn about each other and from each other. We can love each other, yes, even when we add mentor disagree.”
Both chambers approved the election results and passed the rules that will govern the upcoming session.
“We are going to work on big things this year for the state of Oklahoma and for our constituents,” McCall said.
The speaker said this session lawmakers will tackle education reform, rural broadband and improving the state’s health care system.
House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, proposed three amendments to the rules pertaining to COVID-19 precautions; one would have made masks required for lawmakers. None of the amendments passed.
Approximately 2/3 of representatives and 95% of senators wore face masks in the chamber.
While Monday officially began the session, the work will begin in earnest after the State of the State Address by Governor Kevin Stitt on February 1.