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3-7-19

Itís been a busy first month of the legislative session, and weíve passed some important pieces of legislation on the House floor with many others to be considered in the coming weeks.

House Bill 2597, otherwise known as "Constitutional Carry" passed the House earlier this month. It passed in the Senate on Wednesday and was signed into law hours later by the governor. The law takes effect in November.

I proudly stepped forward as one of 29 House members to co-author this bill that will allow anyone who is lawfully allowed to carry a firearm to do so without being required to purchase a license from the state. This protects our Second Amendment rights without undue regulation by the state.

There are still rights for private property owners in the law, and carry is still restricted in schools, colleges, government buildings, private sports arenas and gambling facilities. A separate bill also restricts carry in parks and zoos. The bill also disallows carry for those convicted of a felony or domestic violence or those with an adjudicated mental illness. Background checks for purchase are also still required.

Also this week, House Bill 2612 passed in the House by a vote of 93-5. Known as the "Unity Bill," this 77-page measure implements the will of the majority of Oklahoma voters who passed medical marijuana but puts in place a framework to regulate it. This increases safety for Oklahomans who use this for medical use, but not recreational use!

House Bill 2307 advanced out of the House Transportation committee. This allows third-party commercial driverís license (CDL) permitting. Forty states currently have this and it will be of great convenience for our commercial drivers. I was honored to add my name as a co-author of this bill.

My own bill, House Bill 2263, creates groundwater districts in the state. It would allow more federal conservation initiatives to flow towards our state and especially in our area where we have the Ogallala water aquifer. The bill passed out of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee this week and will move to the House floor soon.

On a final note, congratulations are in order for the Boise City Wildcats girlsí basketball team and to the Hooker Bulldogs boysí basketball team. Both made it to the state tournament Ė The Big House! This is a big deal, and Iím of these student athletes.

As always, Iíll keep you update on whatís going on at the state House. For now, Iím headiní to the farmhouse.

Kenton Patzkowsky serves District 61 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7384 or via email at kenton.patzkowsky@okhouse.gov.

 

1-17-19

Gov. J. Kevin Stitt was sworn into office as Oklahomaís 28th governor on Monday, Jan. 14.

In his inauguration speech, he promised to make Oklahoma a top-ten state. To achieve this, he said he would open Oklahoma for business by aggressively pursuing new businesses that will bring jobs and boost our stateís economy. He also promised increased accountability of state agency spending, asking the Legislature to give him greater ability to hire and fire agency heads.

He rightly stated that government cannot be all things to all people. Instead, he encouraged all Oklahomans to get more involved in their local schools, churches, neighborhoods and non-profits. While state lawmakers can make the stateís regulatory environment more friendly and can free up local funding sources, many decisions are best left to those closest to the city or county level.

Iím heartened by Stittís vision and his background of building a very successful national business. Iím equally glad of his claim to put his trust in God. To survive in the political arena and turn the state toward prosperity will require divine help. Iíll be watching closely to ensure Gov. Stittís actions follow his words. And I will do all I can at the legislative level to support this pro-business, more accountable government approach.

Oklahomans deserve great schools, decent roads, good hospitals and public safety services, but we also deserve to be in charge of the greatest share of our own hard-earned income and to make decisions that best meet our own local needs.

Other state officials, such as the state superintendent, the labor and insurance commissioners, the state auditor, the state treasurer and the lieutenant governor also were sworn into office on Jan. 14.

Meanwhile, House committee chairs and committee assignments have been announced.

I will serve as vice chair of the House Utilities Committee as well as a member on the Agriculture & Rural Development and the Transportation Committees, and the Appropriations & Budget Natural Resources & Regulatory Subcommittee.

Each of these committees is of vital importance to Northwest Oklahoma. Iím glad I will be able to have an early say in legislation that could affect our district.

The House held Organizational Day on Jan. 8. This is a day required by the state Constitution to formally certify November election results and to formally elect House and Senate leadership and adopt legislative rules for the coming session, which starts Feb. 4.

Just a reminder: we have a page program in the House. Any interested high school seniors, juniors or sophomores can reach out to me at my house email and Iíll get you an application. Pages run messages to the representatives during session and get to hold their own mock legislative session. Itís good experience for the next generation of leaders.

As always, Iíll keep you update on whatís going on at the state House. For now, Iím headiní to the farmhouse.

Kenton Patzkowsky serves District 61 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7384 or via email at kenton.patzkowsky@okhouse.gov.

 

 

 

Contact: State Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky

Office: (405) 557-7384

First things first, I want to say thank you to all of the people from Oklahoma House District 61 who voted for me in the recent general election. I enjoyed meeting everyone throughout the election process and getting to hear your ideas for how we can make Oklahoma a more prosperous state and an even better place to live and work. Thank you also to all of the people who helped me reach office. I appreciate everyoneís hard work.

One of the things I heard most often as I visited people throughout our district is a desire to better address our transportation needs in Northwest Oklahoma. We move massive amounts of agriculture products as weíve been challenged to feed an ever-growing world population. Our transportation system needs to be in shape to meet this demand. This is at the top of my list of needs to address.

I also heard that we need to better address education, particularly the shortage of certified teachers in the state. Legislators last year increased the minimum salary schedule for teachers for the first time in a decade. That should help us secure more certified teachers, but weíll be looking at other measures as well such as better administrative support for these dedicated public professionals. 

Now that Iíve been sworn in to serve for the next two years in the 57th Legislature, things are already moving fast.

My first deadline has already passed Ė to request bills and resolutions. Now Iím working on substantive language. In future columns Iíll give more details of the individual bills Iíve requested.

Next up, weíll have Organizational Day on Jan. 8, when newly elected members are certified and we formally elect House leadership. The governor, lieutenant governor and other statewide elected officials get sworn in Jan. 14. The legislative session starts Feb 4. 

I have to say Iím very encouraged about the makeup of the House body. Weíve got a great group of new lawmakers Ė 46 in all in the House Ė joining 55 veteran representatives. Everyone Iíve met so far has been positive about moving our state forward and making laws that make sense for Oklahomans. This looks like it will be a very productive Legislative session.

We also have a very impressive governor-elect. Iím convinced that greater accountability in government is coming.

On another note, we have a page program in the House. Any interested high school seniors, juniors or sophomores can reach out to me at my house email and Iíll get you an application. Pages run messages to the representatives during session and get to hold their own mock legislative session. Itís good experience for the next generation of leaders.

If I donít see you in person, I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Iíll keep in touch. For now, Iím headiní to the farm house.

Kenton Patzkowsky serves District 61 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7384 or via email at kenton.patzkowsky@okhouse.gov.

 

 

Kenton Patzkowsky

 

 

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