By SEN. LARRY BOGGS
According to Oklahoma’s Constitution, the Legislature must conclude its work by no later than 5 p.m. on the last Friday in May. But that hasn’t always been the case. Before 1989, Oklahoma’s Constitution said that lawmakers had 90 “legislative days” to do their work. However, there was no definition of what a legislative day was. Sometimes legislators would recess the session and meet in committee, saving legislative days, or they would actually meet overnight and well into the next day and count it as a single legislative day. As a result, sessions sometimes stretched into July and even later. This was problematic for state agencies, because the new fiscal year begins on the first of July; when the sessions ran long, it meant that state agencies could be well into the new budget year and still not know how much their appropriations were going to be.
With passage of the shorter session, the first day of the session was moved from January to February, and the deadline would always come on that last Friday in May. This meant state agencies would have at least a month to review their appropriations and adjust their budgets and operations accordingly. I believe this is a much more orderly way to conduct the business of the people.
This year, we are well on track to end the session before the last Friday in May. Last week the governor and legislative leaders announced they had reached final agreement on the state budget, which includes significant funding increasing for public schools, greater resources for higher education and CareerTechs, and increases for health, mental health and child welfare programs.
Last week, we welcomed several people from Senate District 7 to the state Capitol. On April 29, Roy Perryman of Stigler and AJ and Aliene Bristow of McAlester were here — both Roy and AJ are with American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance. On Thursday, Dave Donoley of Wilburton was here to appear before the Energy Committee for his re-appointment to the Oklahoma Mining Commission. His son, Chad Donoley, was there for the vote. Dave has served on the commission for the past eight years. He and his wife, Patricia, founded the Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad and can be credited with being the driving force in the expansion of rail lines in our state. Dave Donaley’s appointment will be confirmed on the Senate floor before the end of session.
Finally, I want to offer my sincere congratulations to our graduating high school seniors throughout the district. I know these students have worked really hard, and I commend their families for helping keep them on track. These graduating seniors are the voices of the future. I would ask each of our seniors to become active and involved citizens. You have the ability to make our communities and our state even better, so I urge you to be a part of the process.
May the Lord guide you and bless you in the path you have chosen for your future.
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-Red Oak, is the senator for Oklahoma’s District 7.