From: Yahoo News
By L.L. Woodard | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Wed, Mar 13, 2013
The current Oklahoma legislative session convened on Feb. 4. Both branches of the legislature have been busily considering proposed changes to Oklahoma law, from Gov. Mary Fallin's request to a reduction in the state income tax rate to bills that were approved today by the House of Representatives.
Measure Allowing Oklahoma Public Schools to Allow Armed Teachers in Classrooms
House Bill 1062 , the Special Reserve School Resource Officer Act, was introduced by Rep. Mark McCullough , R-District 30, and introduced on the first day of the 2013 legislative session. The proposed legislation would allow public schools in the state to determine for themselves if they want armed teachers in the classrooms.
If the bill is passed through the state senate as it stands, schools would have to option to pay for teachers to receive a minimum of 120 hours of training to be able to carry a gun in school. The training will be provided by the state's Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training through a specialized program to be designed for the volunteer teachers.
A vote on the measure in the House today passed 6-23 over objections by some representatives about the safety and liability of having armed teachers in schools, even with training. Rep. Cory Williams , D-District 34, told the AP , "This sounds like bargain basement security for kids."
McCullough voiced his intentions to push for a $500,000 appropriation to school districts to pay for the training of up to 250 volunteers.
The measure will now go to the state senate for consideration.
Measure Preventing Enforcement of Affordable Care Act in Oklahoma
House Bill 1021 , introduced as a public health and safety concern by Rep. Mike Ritze , R-District 80, and titled "Preventing Enforcement of Certain Federal Health Care Acts," passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives today by a vote of 72-20. Today, the measure became authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm , R-District 33, for the senate's consideration.
TheRepublic.com reported that Ritze continues to believe the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to the contrary and that most Oklahomans oppose what is often referred to as "Obamacare."
Removed from H.B. 1021 was a provision that would have made it a felony, punishable with up to five years in prison, for anyone in the state to follow the laws of the Affordable Care Act.
Measure to Decrease State Income Tax Rate
On Tuesday, the House passed House Bill 2032 , with a vote of 65-30. H.B. 2032, introduced byHouse Speaker T.W. Shannon , R-District 62, would cut the state's top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, a plan backed by Fallin, a Republican.
The Associated Press reported that an analysis of what the cut in the income tax rate would mean in dollars and cents to state coffers showed that a loss of $50 million in the fiscal year 2014 which begins July 1, 2013 and a loss of $130 million in fiscal year 2015. Opponents of the tax decrease voiced concerns about cuts and losses in state services with the loss of income to Oklahoma from the income tax.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.