Please continue to make calls and contacts on these same issues. We still have no sign of revenue enhancement or state budget so please encourage your legislators to work together for a good plan.
SB 170 (Thompson of the Senate, Sears of the House) Support of this bill would roll back the next income tax cut. (This bill is preferable. SB130 just delays the roll back. SB 170 would keep the current tax rate without another cut.) Both bills passed out of committee, but have not yet been assigned to a Floor agenda.
SB 242 (Pugh, Senate; Sears, House) Oppose this bill which would place the state treasurer on the OTRS and OPERS boards. Currently there are 13 voting members on the TRS Board and it is the opinion of the TRS Executive Director that this large board should not be made any larger. In addition, the state treasurer is on the Oklahoma State Pension Commission and currently serves as the chair of that body. As the chair of the body that is charged with overseeing the operations of the state’s pension systems (“provide guidance to public officials, legislators and administrators in developing public retirement objectives and principles, identifying problems and areas of abuse, projecting costs of existing systems and modifications to those systems, and recommending pension reform programs.”) it could be a possible conflict of interest to serve on two of those systems’ governing boards. The bill is currently assigned to Banking, Financial Service, and Pension Committee.
HB 1846 (Osborn of the House, Smalley of the Senate) would create the Gross Production Support for Education Fund. This would not create any new revenue nor take any away. Currently dedicated revenues from gross production proceeds that go to education are apportioned to the county government to distribute funds to the schools. CCOSA seeks to oppose this bill (and OREA agrees) that this would take funds away from schools’ general funds and allow the legislature the opportunity to earmark the money for pet projects—it could take away local control of the money. The Senate Appropriations committee met Wednesday, but this bill was not on the agenda. It could be on the agenda for this coming Wednesday—we will watch.
HB 2316 (Rep. McCall; Sen. Shulz) TRS opposes this bill and feels it could greatly disrupt agencies. This bill “would greatly increase the power of legislative appointing authorities and the governor to remove state board appointees without cause.” Has been referred to the rules committee in the senate.
Here is a link to an article on the role pensions play in recruiting and retaining teachers in Oklahoma published by the National Public Pension Coalition and the Keep Oklahoma’s Promises Coalition: https://nondoc.com/2017/03/28/pensions-key-recruiting-retaining-oklahoma-teachers/
Please note that my legislative update is not meant to be partisan in any way. I look at all sides of issues, and my position will be to view policy from the perspective of what is best for retirees and seniors regardless of the source of information. I believe retirement security for citizens is of utmost importance and I will continue to advocate for retirees and the aging. I personally research all information and make the best informed decision possible. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions or concerns about my positions.