2015 Session Preview - December 28, 2014
State Representative David Perryman
With the New Year comes a time when the specific language of pre-filed proposed legislation is ironed out and readied for introduction before the February 2 beginning of the first regular session of the 55th Oklahoma legislature. Because of the limitation on the number of bills that each legislator may file, I have sorted through a number of requests and have pre-filed bill requests on a variety of subjects.
One of the bills addresses a recurring problem relating to elder abuse caused by children or grandchildren of the elderly person. Oklahoma has long had a statute that prevents a person who causes the death of another to inherit from that person. I am seeking to extend that prohibition to persons who abuse a parent or grandparent. Such treatment is tragic and is an attempt to keep an individual from being enriched by a person that they have abused.
With a rush of corporate donations flooding into campaigns particularly in light of the Citizens United lawsuit that basically makes the sky the limit on corporate influence in the political process, I have pre-filed a bill to enable shareholders of corporations to be able to monitor and prevent huge partisan donations. In other words, if the government cannot put a limit on campaign contributions from corporations under the guise of “freedom of speech” then the shareholders of those corporations should be able to.
I have re-filed a bill that needs to be addressed. It deals with the ability of a municipality to form fire districts either independently or in conjunction with rural lands within the school district in which the municipality is located. Fire protection translates into lower fire insurance rates and less expensive insurance is an economic development issue. It is time that Oklahoma becomes serious about fire protection.
Another re-filed bill is one that was authored by my old office mate, Curtis McDaniel eliminating the ability of drivers to legally text while operating a motor vehicle. Statistics are clear that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things that a driver can do. In fact it is right up there with using alcohol during the operation of a car. I don’t know where opposition will come this year or what argument they will use, but it is imperative that a message is sent that we want our highways to be safer.
In education, I am authoring a bill to help eliminate excessive testing. My bill focuses on replacing the End of Instruction Tests with the ACT.
I am working on language to clarify some existing sections of the Open Meeting Act to make it easier to comply with and less confusing to the many state and local boards and governing bodies that have to comply with the Act. Often, the boards have to guess at how the Attorney General or the District Attorney will interpret a section. With penalties for violations being ever more serious, we should make the statutes clearer from the outset.
My other bills deal with robocall abuse during political campaigns and making state budget makers more accountable and more accurate as budgets are crafted. I will share more as the proposed language is developed.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as State Representative. If you have questions or comments about this issue or any other matter, please contact me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov or 800-522-8502.