A key legislative deadline is fast approaching. 

Lawmakers have until 4 p.m. Thursday to introduce bills and joint resolutions ahead of the 2023 legislative session, which kicks off on Feb. 6. 

Hundreds of proposals have been filed, ranging from a bill to prohibit corporal punishment of students with disabilities to a sweeping joint resolution that would raise the threshold for state question passage from a simple majority to 66%. (This would have to clear the Legislature and a vote of the people by simple majority to take effect.)

One reminder: Just because a bill is filed doesn’t guarantee it will be heard and voted on. Bills must clear a committee hearing and full vote in their chamber of origin, and then repeat the process in the opposing chamber. If a lawmaker holds a leadership position like committee chair, there are increased odds of their proposals at least being heard. 

It’s not uncommon for bills to clear a committee or full chamber vote but ultimately stall. Lawmakers may also modify a bill’s language significantly as it progresses.

Though many proposals will be filed and never heard, bill filing sets the stage for what issues lawmakers want to prioritize. I anticipate spending a portion of this week combing through legislation and setting email alerts for notable proposals. But I could use your help. 

A few weeks ago I created a brief survey asking what issues voters would like to see lawmakers address in the new year. The idea was born out of Jay Rosen’s Citizens Agenda initiative, which encourages journalists to generate news coverage that’s responsive to what voters believe is important. 

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to fill out the survey. You can also reach me directly at kross@Oklahomawatch.org with tips, story ideas and suggestions. I’d love to hear what bills you’ve identified and plan to track this session. 

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What I’m Reading This Week

  • Oklahoma GOP Chair Seeks More Leeway in Raising Funds to Counter Dark Money: Party chair A.J. Ferate sent a letter to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission requesting a rule change to allow parties to raise funds from corporations, citing increased contributions to dark money groups that don’t have to report their political donors. [The Oklahoman]
  • Stitt Names Four New State School Board Members, Removes Only Educator: Stitt’s new appointments drew immediate criticism from House Appropriations and Budget Common Education Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, who said a lack of representation for rural school districts will lead him to push a bill this session to expand board membership. [NonDoc]
  • Stitt Pledges ‘March to the Top’ for Oklahoma During Inauguration: During the Jan. 9 ceremony, Stitt said he would press for policies expanding school choice and reducing state tax rates. [CNHI]

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