Rep. Joe Dorman
There has been quite a bit of activity around the State Capitol over the past week.
As the deadline finished for committee work, the legislature has dedicated this week and the last working on bills before the entire House of Representatives. I have seen several of my bills reach the floor of the House and be passed on to the Senate. I still have three bills left on the calendar for consideration before the House this week and hope that one more, my legislation restructuring the volunteer firefighter tax credit, will make it on before the deadline of this Thursday.
We are awaiting letters of support from the Office of Homeland Security and Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training, to join the letters I have currently from the various career technology centers and fire service organizations who serve Oklahoma. One other bill, my legislation to require assisted living facilities to have generators in case of power outages, will not be heard this year due to a decision by the House Leadership. There is another bill to require a study of this issue, so I will do my best to get this legislation passed this session.
I have also co-authored many good pieces of legislation by colleagues. Rep. Danny Morgan has authored a bill to allow pregnant women with medical conditions to be allowed usage of a temporary disability sticker for parking.
HB 2998, by Rep. Kris Steele, authorizes a pilot recidivism reduction program for incarcerated females. Two other bills create income tax check-off programs for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Oklahoma Honor Flight program, a fund which assists World War II Veterans a chance to travel to Washington, DC to view the monument dedicated to the military who served in that war.
Both programs do not receive government funding from the state and these donation opportunities on income tax returns allow for private citizens to donate a portion of their returns for these and other worthy programs allowed by the legislature and the governor to be on the tax form.
The clean-up is still continuing around the area with limbs left over from the ice storm. Many of the communities and counties have developed plans to account for the costs related to the disaster as the White House and FEMA approved the reimbursement for cities, counties and non-profit groups, such as the electric cooperatives for covering damages.
The federal government will pay the estimate of 75% of this amount, with the state required to pay 12.5% and the locally-affected entity paying the remaining 12.5 percent. We did receive the bad news that individual assistance will not be paid out for costs associated with the ice storms.
One of the minimum requirements is that a city or county suffer the total destruction of at least 100 homes or businesses from the disaster, and this did not occur with these ice storms. I will be working on legislation for the future to provide assistance to individuals with medical conditions to cover a part of the cost for generators if a doctor signs off that this is to assist with a medical condition. If you have questions about local clean-up efforts, please contact your local city hall or county commissioner.
We had several visitors to the Capitol this past week. I was pleased to have the minister of the week from our area. Sharla Reynolds, the pastor for Sterling United Methodist and Rush Springs First United Methodist Church, delivered our daily prayer prior to session and also gave us an inspirational message on Thursday.
We also saw the Washita Valley Leadership Program, which includes several of my constituents from Caddo County, visit the Capitol for a two day leadership seminar about state government. I was happy to visit with them at the Capitol and also have dinner with them one evening and address questions about policy and procedure. We need more opportunities like this for citizens to learn about the system and contribute back with their ideas. Thanks to this group and all such programs and individuals who seek to better our state by providing leadership. The Conservation Districts of Oklahoma also were at the Capitol and I was pleased to help honor the Grady County Conservation District as the District of the Year.t is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Rep. Joe Dorman
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