Freshman Legislators Prepare for the January 2013 Session - December 14, 2012
State Representative David Perryman
It has been a busy few days at the Capitol as I and 15 other new representatives attended orientation, received office assignments and filed preliminary requests for House Bills. My new office is in a great location and easy to find next to the entrance to the north visitor gallery of the House of Representatives. Please drop by any time that you are at the CapitoI.
It was enjoyable to meet other freshman legislators and discover how much we have in common, regardless of party affiliation. I look forward to working across party lines to reach for solutions to the problems that face our great state.
Two education bills that I will be sponsoring is to improve student teacher ratio in Pre-K through 3rd grade and to protect rural schools from being closed.
Municipal bills that I am sponsoring are to allow local regulation of tobacco use; address needed changes in the continuing education of council persons and trustees; to allow the formation of fire districts within municipalities; and to streamline and reduce the cost of annexation when 100% of property owners consent to annexation in writing.
I am sponsoring bills to assist rural fire protection and rural ambulance services with regard to operational cost and to ease the financial burden on volunteer firemen who are often required to reach into their own pockets to cover costs of their own traning.
There have been two or three attempts over past sessions to assist rural communities to establish public libraries. I am reviving a bi-partisan bill that would allow smaller communities to establish library districts that are concurrent with school district boundaries.
A couple of water bills that were introduced by former Representative Phil Richardson involve the establishment of Regional Water Planning Councils and limitations on the severance of water rights. Both of these bills were great ideas. Neither passed, but I see the need to continue Representative Richardson’s work and reintroduce them.
One of the issues that has caused consternation among voters in Oklahoma is the political gerrymandering of House and Senate districts. Several states, particularly Montana and Pennsylvania, have a redistricting process that is insulated from political influence. I am asking that Oklahoma adopt a similar plan so that when the 2020 census is released, district lines will be based more on common sense and less on party politics.
In a similar vein, political parties in Oklahoma have historically made it virtually impossible for a third party candidate to appear on an Oklahoma election ballot. I have asked for a bill that would substantially reduce the number of signatures required for this to occur.
Finally, I have asked for legislation that would provide small communities website technology support from the Oklahoma Department of Tourism to improve the ability of the communities to promote festivals and community events.
In coming weeks I will discuss these bills further. The deadline for the submission of substantive language is December 27 and the Organizational Session for the legislature is January 8, 2013.
Like you, Jo and I are deeply saddened by the event last week in Connecticut and deeply troubled by yet another deadly school shooting. We seek answers and find that the evil in this world is exceeded only by the goodness of God. Please continue to pray for those families as they struggle to cope with the loss of their loved ones during this holiday season.
Serving for the Common Good…..Representative David Perryman.