By Sen. GEORGE BURNS
During the interim, the governor holds a series of ceremonial bill signings, which allow legislators, guests and advocates to come together to celebrate the ‘wins’ during the previous legislative session. Since session only runs February through May, there’s often not time to take a step back and appreciate the positive work we’ve done to improve the lives of Oklahomans.
This past week, I was pleased to join in two ceremonial bill signings for measures I authored that have now become law. The first was Senate Bill 312, which strengthened the penalty for perpetrators stealing the identity of a child. Now, those found guilty of this crime can be punished with a felony conviction and imprisoned for two to 10 years, with a fine up to $100,000, or both prison time and a fine. I was honored to have Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Harolynn Wofford from Hugo joining me at the signing – Mrs. Wofford brought this issue to my attention, and I was honored to work with her to get this bill signed into law.
I also joined Rep. Eddy Dempsey from Valliant for the ceremonial signing of House Bill 1588, which provides a sales tax exemption for forestry equipment. It was an honor to serve as the Senate author for this measure, which will no doubt help many in the forestry industry in our area. Eliminating the sales tax for forestry equipment will bring us on equal footing when competing with Arkansas and Texas to earn more forestry business in our state.
While at the Capitol last week, we also held a Select Agencies hearing with the Law Enforcement Retirement System. It was interesting to hear how the retirement accounts for our brave law enforcement officers are doing, as well as how they are spending the taxpayer dollars they receive. I’m thankful for the work they do to ensure our officers can enjoy retirement after their service to our state.
I enjoyed spending some time this past weekend in Idabel at the McCurtain County Rodeo. This is a great event for our community that brings together cowboys and cowgirls from numerous professional rodeo associations for a high-quality competition. The fair board that puts this rodeo together does a great job, and it’s thanks to their hard work that we are able to have this top-notch event in our community.
Finally, I was honored to attend the Eagle Scout ceremony of Mr. Cai Clements from Valliant. His Eagle Scout project consisted of cleaning up more than 125 veteran grave markers in our area. He spent more than 3,000 hours coordinating and implementing the project. To put that into perspective, a typical work year consists of just over 2,000 hours. It was a great ceremony, and I had the privilege of recognizing Cai with a legislative citation. I hope to host him at the Capitol during the next legislative session and recognize his achievements in front of my Senate colleagues.
Thank you for allowing me to be your voice at our state Capitol – it’s an honor I don’t take lightly. If you have any questions about legislation, or need assistance with an issue, please contact me by email at George.Burns@oksenate.gov or by phone at 405-521-5614.
Get a better way to read the daily news, sports, obituaries and more with the Ledger/LCJ daily newsletter.