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OKLAHOMA CITY – A joint meeting with the Senate and House Redistricting Committees will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 2:30 p.m. in room 535 of the state Capitol.  The meeting is open to all legislators and to the public and will be live streamed at www.oksenate.gov.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved two bills Tuesday to help military families easily transfer to Oklahoma schools. Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, is the author of Senate Bills 68 and 69 that he said are needed to help children of active military parents return to the classroom quickly following a transfer.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate Majority Leader Kim David said she was deeply honored to administer the oath of enlistment to Chief Master Sgt. Scott Irwin, Oklahoma National Guard Joint Force Headquarters Superintendent, as he signed on for another two years of service.  The reenlistment ceremony was held Thursday at the state Capitol in the Senate chamber.

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In the weeks leading up to the legislative session, the spotlight is on budget hearings, so this week, I’d like to focus on the appropriations process, including the work of the appropriations subcommittees.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman, has filed legislation to allow Oklahoma voters to raise the standard for public school funding in the state constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 9 would create a state question to require the legislature to “make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient and equitable system of free public schools”.

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I have said many times, the most important job we as legislators have is to write and pass a balanced budget because ultimately the outcome of that work impacts every single person in our state.  Because those tax dollars come from the public and in turn provide core services our citizens depend on—including schools, transportation, public safety and health care—it is our responsibility to be the best stewards possible with those dollars.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – State Sen. Darrell Weaver has filed legislation to require cell phone companies to provide phone location information to law enforcement in emergency situations, such as an abduction.  Senate Bill 272, the “Kelsey Smith Act,” is named for an 18-year-old from Kansas who was abducted from a store parking lot in 2007 and found murdered four days later.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, said the entire state should be proud after Amanda English, a former police chief who is now an educator at Metro Tech in Oklahoma City, was named National Teacher of the Year for 2021 by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at various issues related to our state budget, from how we use revenues from the lottery and medical marijuana, to funding for state services, including health care and corrections.  This week, we’re going to break down the actual budget process itself. 

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I want to thank everyone for taking the time to look at our weekly Budget Break Down articles and for sharing your comments and questions.  One topic I’m frequently asked about is what happened to all of the lottery money? 

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