I would like to start this report by advising that I continue to receive great reports on my health. God had been very good to me, and cancer has not returned. Thanks to everyone for your prayers.
Last week was very fast paced and interesting. One of the biggest issues addressed was the teacher pay raise – a $6,000 raise over three years. It overwhelmingly passed. The problem we have yet to discuss is how to pay for it. My hope is that we will work to find revenue without raising taxes on individual Oklahomans.
We should look to make Oklahoma’s oil tax similar to other energy income based states. A great step forward was to stop incentives paid to wind energy as of July 1; this will save the state as much as $500 million over the next 10 years and will still allow us to keep our promise to the wind industry – any production started before July 1 will still qualify for the credit. I was proud the House of Representatives took steps to improve this revenue increase for Oklahoma.
This could help us pay for part of the teacher pay raise and also could help us raise the pay for state workers who deliver our core government services. These people haven’t seen raises for years and have seen health care costs increase, drastically reducing their disposable income.
I was surprised how difficult it was to pass a bill that seeks to protect our police officers. The bill known as ‘Blue Lives Matter” would increase the likelihood of the death penalty for people convicted of killing a law enforcement officer in the line of duty. I was proud that we did right by our law enforcement officers and this bill passed.
I was very disappointed the House of Representatives voted to allow alcohol to be sold in the movie theaters. For me, this one of the few places left where we can have a family outing without being confronted by alcohol use. Apparently my views were not main-stream, and this saddens me at the way our society is moving away from family values.
Another bill we narrowly passed will protect drug-free schools zones. The House of Representatives voted to protect our schools and keep these drug free zones in Oklahoma. I am very much support keeping drug-free school zones.
Justin Humphrey represents Oklahoma House District 19. He can be reached at (405) 557-7382 or Justin.Humphrey@okhouse.gov.