Monday, March 25, 2013

Cockroft Column, March 18, 2013

As House lawmakers begin their review of Senate bills in committee, I wanted to briefly touch upon what House bills were approved on the House floor in time for the March 14 Third Reading deadline.

House lawmakers did approve a tax cut bill that will reduce the rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent. House Bill 2032 is in line with Governor Mary Fallin’s State of State message and the House leadership agenda. Senate Republicans are marching to their own beat. They have called for a slightly deeper cut, but that will take effect beginning in 2015. Hopefully, a deal can be struck, especially as we start to iron out the upcoming fiscal year budget.

Another important bill to limit government would place a moratorium on fees Oklahomans pay to state agencies for services. House Bill 1914 would prohibit new fees or fee increases through January 1, 2016. Since 2007, state fees have increased by $113 million or 38 percent. An exemption is carved out by fee increases mandated by federal law or directly tied to inflation.

With Roe vs. Wade, still firmly in place, pro-life supporters are always looking for information that can help them encourage more mothers to choose life. We passed House Bill 2015, which will add questions to the Individual Reporting Form completed by physicians who perform an abortion.

The Oklahoma Senate has sent us one bill that will allow residents in nursing homes to install electronic monitoring devices in their private rooms. The measure was requested by the Silver Haired Legislature and is a priority bill for AARP Oklahoma. Senate Bill 587 requires nursing homes to notify residents and their representatives of the opportunity.

Lastly, an important veterans bill was approved by the Senate. Senate Bill 466 ensures deployed veterans are not penalized for being away during legal proceedings. The bill would also protect a veteran’s heirs, executors and administrators when the veterans is deployed.

Once again, I am here for the people of my district. I am in a position of service and want to help in any way that I can. Please never hesitate to contact me at (405) 788-9160 or Follow me on Twitter: @VoteCockroft27 and on Facebook: Representative Josh Cockroft.

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