McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 1, 2014

Condit's Capitol Report

By Rep. Donnie Condit
D-McAlester

McALESTER — It is a pleasure to represent such a great district at your Capitol. Congratulations go out to the Stidham Redhawks boys basketball team. These young men, under the coaching of Lucky Tarkington and leadership of Superintendent Bart Banfield, won their second state championship in a row. District 18 is constantly well represented in the different extra-curricular activities on the state level.

 The House of Representatives is in the fourth week of the session. According to our rules, all bills have to be heard in committee of origin by the end of this week. If the bill is not heard, they are essentially, dead. The House has had many committee meetings this week attempting to get as many bills out of committee as possible.

I am very disappointed that most of the bills I introduced were not heard in committee. I have contacted the chairmen of the committees that these bills are assigned to and requested hearings to no avail. I will continue to fight for these bills.

In Oklahoma we have had a rule that actually hurts a school district when a student leaves the public school district to be home-schooled. Recently the state department of education had implemented a rule concerning under what condition a ninth through 12th grader could leave their school without penalty to the school’s A-F graduation cohort formula. These include death of the student, immigration to another country or transfer to a degree offering institution. This resulted in our school districts being penalized when parents chose to home school their ninth – 12th grade student since they were considered by the state as a drop-out.

Rep. Ed Cannaday D-Porum had House Bill 2408 heard in the Common Education Committee on Monday. HB2408 brought a fourth category which would require the student’s parent to sign an affidavit declaring that they were accepting responsibility of preparing their youth to become qualified to be accepted into an institution of higher education. This is primarily determined by the ACT scores. HB2408 passed out of Common Education by a vote of 14-0.

I believe in a parent’s right to choose how their child is educated. When parents decide to home school their child, I do not believe that the local public school should be penalized. Under the current rules of the state department of education, it is a slap in the face to the parents that choose to home school and then classify the students as “drop-outs.” I look forward to HB2408 hopefully making its way through the legislative process and signed by Governor Fallin.

I would like to thank my colleague and friend, Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, for introducing and having HB2767. HB2767 was heard in the Long Term Care and Senior Services committee, of which I serve as the Vice Chair. HB2767 will require Medicare home care applicants to undergo drug testing. HB2767 passed by a 6-0 vote.

Thank you to the constituents from my district who stopped in to the Capitol to say “hello” this past week: Sharon Elder, EODD; Joshua Overton, Tonya Overton, Richard Peckio, Trice Butler, Philip Mead and Kellie Cantrell and the group from Kiamichi Technology Center, Dr. Michael Auld and Dr. Doug Auld. It was nice to have a visit from former McAlester student Julie Gragg Landes.  Your visits are always appreciated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 405-557-7376 or 918-916-9004. You can also e-mail me at Donnie.condit@okhouse.gov. Thank you and God Bless America!

Donnie Condit is Oklahoma’s District 18 State Representative.