Well the dust is starting to settle at 23rd and Lincoln—well figuratively that is. Construction and renovation are still going on, so the dust is literally still flying. Perhaps it’s metaphorical in relation to the state budget—the dust may still be flying if there are parties that choose to file a suit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court related to the legality of revenue raising measures passed within the last five days of the legislative session. You may have read or seen media coverage on this issue. Rumors are circulating that groups are already preparing to file suit.
Here is the good news: considering that the state budget for 2018 is basically “flat,” that a few entities are being maintained at last year’s funding levels, some agencies are being cut four to six percent, a couple are being “zeroed out,” the TRS and the other public pension systems in Oklahoma have come out of the process unscathed. The amount of dedicated revenue for the Teacher Retirement System has been left unchanged. This is to the credit of our members who have been faithful to call, write, and visit your legislators! We also appreciate the leadership of Representatives Randy McDaniel and Earl Sears and the many state legislators who have committed to maintaining the funding for our retirement system.
This summer we are putting together a type of “Legislative Summary” for our members to provide information on how legislators voted on the issues that were of utmost importance to OREA this past session. Sometimes issues are "complicated” but there have been several requests for this information. This way, our readers can have summarized information in one place.
It has recently come to our attention that some of our readers have experienced formatting issues with the Legislative Updates and possibly other emails. Examples include spacing (or lack thereof) between some words, incorrect, strange, or no punctuation. (Also there could be misspelled words—but that’s probably on me!) After further examination, it seems that the problem might be the mail user agent, email application, or web browser that is being used. If the email you receive has multiple mistakes that makes the message hard to read, try visiting the OREA website (orea.org) to read the update online. I promise you that at the sending point (our office) the message is proof-read and mistake-free (as is humanly possible most days). Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have concerns or questions. In fact, I would appreciate any feedback you may have. I hope the updates have been useful this session. Of course we can’t please everyone, and what one person loves, another hates, but we will try to continue to improve the process. If you have a change in your email address, please let us know so we can keep you updated.
OREA Executive Director