Rep. Jason Murphey
Special to The Sun
The list of bills to be considered this year by the Legislature has now been published. As hundreds of bills have been filed, it takes a careful observer to take note of a rather interesting fact. Perhaps unnoticed in the sea of proposed measures are a fascinating series of initiatives by one particular state representative. Check these out!
HB 1909 requires food stamp recipients to work, train for work or be involved in community service programs for at least 35 hours per week as a condition of eligibility for food stamps.
HB 1910 keeps state government moving down the path of liquidating unneeded real property assets. Revenue from the privatization of the assets would maintain those properties still needed. This avoids the costly practice of meeting deferred maintenance needs with debt.
HB 1911 makes it harder for people to file frivolous unemployment claims against small business owners. These claims drive up costs, punish small businesses and make life difficult for those hard-working individuals who are just trying to create jobs and build their businesses.
HB 1914 actually places a moratorium on the ability of state bureaucracies to increase fees. Those of us who take the calls from constituents who must deal with massive increases know first-hand the importance of this bill.
HB 1916 sets its sights on completely repealing the state’s punitive franchise tax. This form of double taxation on business is one of the most unfair!
HB 1917 requires state agencies to plan for reducing their dependence on federal funding. This is essential for the inevitable day of reckoning when the federal government will initiate austerity measures to deal with the budget crises. It also seeds the important concept that sometimes it is important to reject federal funds.
HJR 1036 places a limit on the amount of debt state government can incur. This proposal could bring an end to the practice of issuing debt. Debt issuance by state government has spiraled out of control since an incorrect and unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court in the late 1990s that opened the floodgates on debt issuances.
Upon reviewing this list, based on their years of experience, most Capitol insiders would likely rightly conclude that the bills are the work of a naive newcomer to the Legislature who hasn’t had time to become cynical. The author appears to function under the delusion that he can make a difference and does not realize that the special interests and House leadership likely will not even allow these aggressive bills to receive a committee hearing.
In making this observation, the insiders would normally be absolutely correct.
There is however one very important mitigating factor. These bills are sponsored by House leadership. Each of these bills has been sponsored by new Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon. Shannon’s legislation should send the strong message that times have changed and House members are now prepared to advance an aggressive portfolio of bills designed to fulfill our promise of truly working for limited government.
In my time participating in and observing the Legislature, I have never before observed this type of conservative governance by House leadership and I am very much looking forward to reporting to you on the progress that will be made in this session of the Legislature.
REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at email@example.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.