What the Heck is Going on at the State Capitol?

Photo by Carl Shortt

Photo by Carl Shortt

Does the news from the Oklahoma Capitol seem a bit overwhelming?

The legislative schedule and state budget process defines that breakneck pace and huge volume this time of year.

Once the Legislature convenes on the first Monday in February (Feb 6 this year), the State Senate and House have less than a month to hear bills in committees.

The first committee deadline just passed. Since our state legislators submit thousands of bills, literally, we just finished the busiest time of filtering and early decision-making.

Legislators and lobbyists alike watch the deadlines closely. Many bills don’t get heard at all. If a bill isn’t heard in a committee in its House of Origin (the legislative body where it was introduced), it is essentially dead for the year. Exceptions only exist for budget-related bills, resolutions and amendments.

Arts & Culture Legislation:

Here is the Oklahomans for the Arts Legislative Tracking List.

We are pleased Senator Brecheen’s bill (SB296) did not move forward. They bill would have opened us up to limits on our state’s Art in Public Places program. We will watch to make sure the language does not get added to any other legislation.

Much of the conversation this session has been about the huge budget challenges. Legislative leaders are negotiating daily about revenues, deciding how to add revenues to pay for the state’s priorities.  We will watch closely as the appropriations process continues.

Resources on Legislative Timelines:
See all the legislative deadlines here: 
http://www.oksenate.gov/schedule/deadlines.htm
http://www.okhouse.gov/legislation/legislativedeadlines.aspx

See the detailed steps for bills moving through the Oklahoma legislature, look here:  http://www.unionps.org/filesSite/Passage_of_a_Bill.pdf.

Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Legislative Primer http://okpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/LegislativePrimer2017.pdf?x42044

Julia Kirt