Last week was a slow one in the Senate as we were still waiting for House bills to be assigned to Senate committees. March 28th is the first deadline for double-assigned House bills. We then have until April 4th to take action on single-assigned bills and until April 11th to report double-assigned bills out of committee.
We did approve some important resolutions last week. On March 19, we approved HCR 1005, which designated it as Water Appreciation Day. Water is our state’s most valuable resource and it’s important that it is properly cared for and managed. Water plays a vital role in the health of our citizens and wildlife, industry and commerce, and our tourism industry. We must all respect the value and significance of our water resources. This drought has shown us that even though Oklahoma has more bodies of water than most states, it can easily disappear and we can’t take it for granted. I want to urge everyone to be mindful of your water usage and not waste water in or around your home. We must do all we can to protect this precious resource.
On March 20, we approved Senate Resolution 9 proclaiming the day as Nonprofit Day in Oklahoma. There are nearly 19,000 nonprofits throughout the state. These play an important role in strengthening communities and are an important partner for both the state and federal government in helping provide additional financial assistance in various areas. Oklahoma nonprofits employ approximately 10 percent of the workforce and constitute 14 of the top 50 employers in the state. These nonprofits contribute to the state economy by generating more than $12 billion in revenue each year and have more than $38 billion in assets. I’m proud to say that Oklahoma is one of the most generous states when it comes to donating to nonprofits. On average, Oklahomans donate nearly $2 billion in itemized contributions, representing 5.6 percent of their discretionary income to nonprofits. I wasn’t surprised to learn how much money Oklahomans donate to nonprofits. Oklahomans are generous, kind-hearted people and I’m proud to be an Oklahoman.
This past week, I got to visit with a lot of folks from around the district. On March 18, hundreds of firefighters from around the state came to rally at the state Capitol in opposition of the governor’s proposal to steamline the management of the state’s seven pension plans including the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System. I had the opportunity to visit with firefighters from McAlester and Haywood-Arpelar. These brave men and women do so much for our communities and I will do all I can to ensure their rights are protected.
On March 19, I had a number of guests. The Pittsburg County Republican Women stopped by. I always enjoy visiting with this wonderful group of ladies and appreciate their support. Danny and Leigh Baldwin of KEDDO stopped in and I also had several visitors from Farm Bureau on March 19 as well.
That evening, I had the special honor of attending the Oklahoma Youth Expo’s Legislative and Celebrity Showmanship competition where I showed a sheep with Savanna Zackery of Weleetka. I really enjoyed helping her and supporting this great program. The Youth Expo is the largest junior livestock show in the world, providing millions of dollars in scholarships to outstanding Oklahoma youth.
Again, I’d like to remind everyone that you can find a schedule of Senate committee meetings as well as watch or listen to those meetings live on our website at www.oksenate.gov.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. Friends, if you have questions or concerns about any legislative bills or issues, please feel free to contact me. To contact me at the Capitol, please write to Senator Larry Boggs, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 513B, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; email me at email@example.com, or call 405-521-5604.
Larry Boggs, R-Wilburton, is the senator for Oklahoma’s District 7.