The Oklahoma Legislative Session of 2013-14 will convene at noon on Feb. 4. If earlier years are any indication of how many proposals the state's elected officials will be considering, there could be 3,000 or so pieces of legislation up for debate. How many of the proposed new laws will actually receive serious consideration in the 16 weeks and four days the legislative session lasts remains to be seen.
Oklahoma Legislature Breakdown
Oklahoma is one of 26 states throughout the nation with a Republican-controlled legislature and one of 24 states where both the governor and the legislative majority are Republican. Seventy-two of the 101 seats in the Oklahoma house of representatives are Republican-held; 36 of the 48 seats in the Oklahoma senate are held by members of the Republican party.
Gov. Mary Fallin had the distinction of being the first Republican and first female lieutenant governor in the state, serving in that capacity for 12 years, then as representative to the U.S. Congress in 2006 for the Fifth District of Oklahoma, and in November 2010 became the first-ever female governor of the Sooner state.
Proposed Legislation Ranges from Personhood Act of 2013 to Firearms Freedom Act
State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-District 36, Assistant Majority Whip, and 15 others have authored proposed legislation called the Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act. The measure, House Bill 2021, would exempt firearms and ammunition made in the state from federal regulations; the details of the proposal would ensure that only those items clearly marked as "Made in Oklahoma" and kept within state boundaries would be covered.
The Personhood Act of 2013, House Bill 1029, authored by State Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-District 91, would say that the life of all fetuses begins at conception and that fetuses are protected by law from all intentional harm, a measure similar to one proposed in the prior legislative session that failed passage.
More than one bill was filed addressing changes to the state's income tax, as well as several measures pertaining to water rights. The list of filed proposals is available at the Oklahoma legislature site.
How Oklahoma Residents Can Interact in and Stay Up to Date on Legislative Activity
The Oklahoma legislature website provides multiple opportunities for interested parties to be in-the-know about its activities. From the "Text of Measures," where you can find a broad overview of the 2013-14 proposed legislation, you'll find the appropriate bill number that you can then fill in on the site's home page at "Find Legislation." From there, you'll be taken directly to the measure itself and can see at a glance what activity has taken place.
If you'd like to more closely follow one or more particular measures, you can again do so at the site's main page at "Track Bills." Here you'll be asked to log in or create an account, then updates to the measures will be emailed directly to you.
You can find your elected officials by supplying your address, city and zip code on the site's home page. An interactive list of all members of both the state house and senate is also on the legislature's home page.
Become involved in shaping the future of Oklahoma by being in contact with your elected officials. You can phone, mail, or email your chosen representatives to let them know your thoughts on upcoming measures. This is how a representative government works best and is truly representative of the people.