In the Spotlight
Chamber announces 2013 OneVoice agenda with regional partners
The Tulsa Regional Chamber and its regional partners announced the 2013 OneVoice legislative agenda on Thursday, January 31st, joining together the voices of more than 60 regional entities to speak with a unified voice at the Capitol this session.
Sixty-one municipalities, Chambers and regional organizations came together to endorse the 2013 OneVoice agenda, which is developed over months of deliberation and discussion by task forces committed to the prosperity of the region.
"The OneVoice agenda has become such a well-respected, attention-garnering tool for regional advocacy," said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. "This isn't just the Chamber; this isn't just one entity. This is the Tulsa region coming together to make the biggest impact and get the best results for the entire region."
The OneVoice agenda includes 10 state and 10 federal priorities. At last week's announcement, speakers focused on three major issues: education funding, Medicaid expansion and workers' compensation reform.
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Governor presents state of the state, 2013 session begins
Gov. Mary Fallin delivered her State of the State address on Monday, February 4th, as the 2013 legislative session began.
Fallin began by stating Oklahoma's economy is strong and continues to improve, with more than 62,000 jobs created since January 2011. The governor said she will continue her dedication to improving the state's business climate, and pledged to work with House and Senate leaders on several Tulsa regional OneVoice legislative priorities.
Fallin proposed an additional $13.5 million for the Department of Education to help fund earlier reforms such as Common Core Standards and teacher evaluation system.
"These reforms have a proven track record of improving education performance," said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. "We appreciate Gov. Fallin's focus on increased education funding targeted to implement these reforms effectively. We must provide a meaningful increase in education funding and look forward to working with the legislature to ensure this OneVoice priority is successful."
In discussing health care, the governor's remarks focused on the cost associated with expanding coverage and her efforts to create an Oklahoma Plan. Her budget proposes an additional $40 million to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to cover individuals who are currently eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled.
"The health care industry plays a vital role in Oklahoma's economy by employing thousands of people in the Tulsa region and ensuring we have a healthy, productive workforce," Neal said. "The OneVoice coalition is committed to working with state leaders to meet our 2013 OneVoice priorities, including expanding access to health insurance."
Other top priorities announced by the governor include increased funding for the Quick Action Closing Fund, fully funding the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's Eight-Year Plan, and increased funding for mental health and prescription drug abuse services.
Federal and State Legislation
- ok HB 1031: Public health and safety; extending date of supplemental hospital offset payment program fee; effective date.
- ok SB 538: Public health; extending the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program through 2019. Effective date.
- ok HB 1363: Revenue and taxation; sales tax; definitions; use tax; effective date; emergency.
- ok SB 976: Sales tax; modifying criteria in Quality Events Incentive Act.