As I review the accomplishments of the 2019 legislative session, I believe it is one of the most productive and positive for our state in recent history.  Back in January, Senate Republicans unveiled a four-point agenda with specific legislative goals within each of those points. I am very proud and gratified to report that every single one of those goals were met by the end of the session. These included:

• Creation of a legislative budget office to provide greater accountability and transparency of taxpayer dollars.

• Increasing accountability to state government by giving the governor authority to put into place the right leaders at state agencies to turn Oklahoma around.

• Honor and protect the $2.9 billion investment in our students and teachers, and restore 5-day school weeks, providing for reasonable exemptions, to enhance student outcomes and repair Oklahoma’s national reputation.

• Improve access to and provide funding for diversion programs to further criminal justice reform.

And at every single point in our budget negotiations, those priorities were reflected and supported.  I believe the budget we approved for fiscal year 2020 will do the greatest good for the greatest number of Oklahomans, investing in our core services and at the same time helping us prepare for future downturns in the economy.  Coupled with other budgeting reforms and measures approved in the past few years, we have undoubtedly emerged much stronger as a state, and this budget continues to build on that.  

We’ve made new and significant investments in all areas of education, in our transportation infrastructure, health and mental health, public safety and in criminal justice reform, which will ultimately save our state money, reduce prison overcrowding and reduce recidivism.

I am also extremely grateful to my fellow members and to Governor Kevin Stitt for supporting so much of the legislation I authored. These measures address a range of topics from legislation protecting some of our most vulnerable seniors, public health, protecting the rights of parents and common sense criminal justice reform.

At every turn and in every way, this was an extremely positive and productive session.  I am also very grateful to the many constituents who reached out to share their views on issues as they moved through the legislative process.  It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of District 22 in the Senate.

If you have any questions about legislation or other issues dealing with state government, please contact me at 405-521-5592, or email bice@oksenate.gov