Friday, May 20, 2011

Legislature Adjourns For The Year

The Legislature adjourned today for the year following a historic session that saw successful passage of a sweeping, pro-growth, conservative agenda.
Speaker Kris Steele
“This was a very successful legislative session,” said House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee. “The Legislature laid an ambitious foundation for the state this year that will allow us to reach our full potential.”
The House recessed today and will not convene next week unless there is an emergency. The formal Sine Die will occur May 27 at 5 p.m. The Legislature will not have to convene for Sine Die to occur.
“The breadth of the accomplishments by the Legislature and our other statewide leaders this year is remarkable,” said House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee. “Oklahomans can take pride in knowing the state is set up to grow and thrive in the 21st century.”
Steele praised lawmakers for their work this year to advance major agenda items.
“We succeeded in creating an environment where businesses can succeed and families can prosper,” Steele said. “We made landmark reforms to our civil justice, workers’ compensation, pension and corrections systems. We also started to roll back the size of government while increasing the efficiency of important government services through modernization and consolidation. We advanced legislation defending family values and constitutional rights. And finally, we passed a balanced state budget that did not raise taxes and protected core services.
“To do all this and still be able to adjourn early is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all our legislators and staffers.”
The following were among the major agenda items passed out of the House this year:

A balanced $6.5 billion state budget;

  • Lawsuit reform that reduces harmful, frivolous lawsuits by placing limits on damages awarded through civil actions;
  • Workers’ compensation reform that provides increased savings to employers and puts injured workers back on the job faster;
  • Education reforms that improve student reading skills and place more accountability on schools and teachers;
  • Corrections reform that alleviates the fiscal and social strains caused by high incarceration rates;
  • A well-received legislative redistricting plan that fairly redrew the boundaries of all 101 House districts;
  • Government modernization that makes the state’s technology operations more efficient;
  • Government consolidation that streamlines duplicated services, saves money and increases the efficiency of all government services;
  • Pension reform that reduces unfunded liabilities by $5 billion;
  • A closing fund that will help the state attract new businesses;
  • Policies that protect the Second Amendment rights of citizens;
  • Policies that protect the sanctity of life;
  • Policies that uphold family values.
In addition to the legislation the House passed this year, several changes were made to legislative process that resulted in increased transparency and accountability.
For the first time, conference committees were required to meet publicly and bills to be heard in conference committees had to be posted publicly beforehand.
Also, new tools allowing the public to follow the legislative process online continued to be added to the House website.
“These changes brought a higher level of transparency to the Legislature so the public can be better-informed about the good work conducted on their behalf,” Steele said.
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