LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

OREA LEGISLATIVE - MARCH 17, 2017

Dear Leaders: 

The legislature adjourned early this week due to the spring break holiday for many families, but will be back in full swing Monday morning.  

On our radar for next week:

HB 1767 by Todd Russ (R-Cordell) requires school districts to hold an election “for all employees in any bargaining unit represented by an existing employee organization to determine whether the organization retains support of a majority of all employees in the bargaining unit.” So ALL schools would have to have an election within a year, then every 5 years thereafter. Interestingly, Rep. Russ doesn’t have a single bargaining unit in his district (H-55). The closest one would be Clinton and his district does border the outskirts of Clinton, but not Clinton proper. My opposition to this bill is that it is yet another burdensome, unfunded, mandated requirement for schools. In addition it is redundant since Oklahoma Law already allows for an election to be held should it be desired. Please urge your representative to oppose HB 1767—and to address the REAL crisis in our state right now—the revenue failure and additional cuts to already struggling state agencies!

I don’t know about you, but I have been an employee in districts that have successful bargaining units, and my experience is that it was a win-win for all parties involved. Russ also insinuates that teachers have been forced to join associations in the past without wanting to. Well, Oklahoma law has always provided for the CHOICE for public employees to be able to join their local association—OR NOT.

SB 170 by Roger Thompson (R-Okemah) passed the Senate floor this week. This is finally a sign of fiscal responsibility, and would eliminate the trigger for the next round of income tax cuts. Please urge your representative to support SB 170 when it comes to the House of Representatives.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for our legislature to address revenue streams for the state. Cuts have been and are continuing to be made to essential services. People are generally aware of the cuts to schools and the crisis there—but talk to a highway patrolman, a corrections officer, a social worker, a park ranger, or any other state employee involved in providing services that many take for granted. It’s bad. Please urge your state senator and state representative to address our revenue failures and (gasp!) consider returning to a higher gross production tax and eliminating some of the overly generous tax credits that they have so freely given out the last decade. The biggest pothole in our state is at 23rd and Lincoln, aka the state budget!

Thank you for all you do!

Sabra Tucker

Executive Director

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