House lawmakers continue to review bills in both committee and on the House floor as we continue through the first month of our legislative session. Last Tuesday, while several school board elections were underway, I debated in favor of my legislation to tie school board elections to municipal and some county elections.
Although I have a great respect for the leaders in our community who step up to serve on our school boards, the case has been made to me again and again that the low voter turnout in school board elections shows a need to reform the election process. Tying it to municipal elections will add more voices and votes to the process as well as reduce the cost of elections since not as many ballots would be printed. However, unions and special interest groups have successfully controlled school board elections for years. When you control the way elections are held you can control who wins. I prefer transparency and engagement over control. Unfortunately, I did not receive the votes needed to pass House Bill 1887 as it failed on the floor 44-47. Meanwhile, many of the school board elections taking place did reflect low voter turnout. I will continue pushing this issue as we go forward.
I also have good news to report. My legislation to help counties convert their fleets to compressed natural gas and increase state CNG infrastructure was approved in the first step of the committee process on Monday by a vote of 10-0. The state transportation department’s numbers on utilizing CNG vehicles is staggering. After converting 174 vehicles to CNG, they recorded $163,451 in net savings in 5 months. That’s $32,690 per month. House Bill 2954 would aid counties in converting their fleets to CNG and further multiply those savings throughout the state.
The legislation would require tracking of fuel savings and help the counties develop CNG infrastructure that would be available to counties, municipalities, the state fleet and the general public. It expands on Gov. Mary Fallin’s efforts to advance Oklahoma’s energy policy. We will continue pushing this bill through the process and discussing alternate funding sources to make this policy effective. There is a long path ahead to the completion of this bill, but I am confident in this unique plan and believe it is the best path forward for our state.
It is an honor to serve you. It matter not if you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent; I am here to serve you. Please visit my website to see where I stand on any range of topics atwww.FriendsofJoshCockroft.com and my policy blog at www.RepJoshCockroft.blogspot.com. Communication is important to me. I want to know how to I can better serve and lead for our district and our state. I am always a phone call away at: 405-557-7349. You can also email me at:Josh.Cockroft@okhouse.gov.