By Sen. GEORGE BURNS
We’ve officially concluded the 2021 legislative session, and along with it, there have been some big ‘wins’ for the citizens of Oklahoma.
Just over 3,000 bills were filed head of the session, and at the end, more than 550 ended up being signed by the governor into law. Of these measures, some were related to the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, others extended sunset terms on boards and commissions, others renamed roads and bridges and some created specialty license plates. However, quite a few of the measures that were signed into law directly deal with public policy that will positively impact every Oklahoman for years to come.
Numerous pro-life measures were signed into law, making it even more difficult to have an abortion in our state. The right to life begins at conception, and I’m proud that Senate Republicans stuck to our conservative values and fought for the rights of the unborn.
We made Oklahoma a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, reinforcing that the right to keep and bear arms in our state shall not be infringed. All Oklahomans are now able to buy and keep guns and ammunition that are currently legal, regardless of any future legislation imposed by the federal government.
We protected the freedom of religion and ensured that churches cannot be closed by any form of government, even during a health emergency. America was born on the principle that her citizens should be able to worship as they please without persecution, and this cornerstone of democracy will continue in Oklahoma.
While inflation continues to rise and the price of goods skyrockets due to federal policies, we believed it was a priority to protect your pocketbooks. That’s why we approved a measure cutting the personal income tax rate from 5 percent to 4.75 percent, as well as the corporate income tax from 6 percent to 4 percent. These cuts make Oklahoma a Top 10 state in terms of the lowest tax rates compared to other states that levy these taxes. We want to signal to others across the nation that Oklahoma is the place to go if you want your family and business to prosper.
When tragedy struck in the form of a horrific cold storm in February, we took quick action. The artic temperatures would’ve left crippling utility bills behind, but we swiftly worked to bond the skyrocketing costs of electricity and natural gas, ensuring that Oklahomans will only see small increases in their utility bills. This is a stark contrast to what many of our neighbors in Texas faced in the aftermath of the storm.
Finally, we put our money where our mouth is by historically funding public education, expanding broadband access through tax incentives for providers, and investing in rural infrastructure projects. We know small-town America is the heartbeat of our state, and I’m glad we were able to appropriate funds to ensure the stability of our rural towns.
Overall, I believe it was a very successful session resulting in a solid budget for the state of Oklahoma.
Thank you for allowing me serve as your state Senator. If you have any questions about legislation, or need assistance with an issue, please contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 405-521-5614.
Every 10 years, the Oklahoma Legislature is constitutionally required to redraw legislative and congressional district boundaries using the latest U.S. Census data. For more information about the Oklahoma Senate’s redistricting process, visit www.oksenate.gov, or submit your redistricting questions at [email protected].
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