Session is winding down and our attention has been on the budget, conference committee reports, and House amendments.
We have spent a majority of our time this past week in the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget as well as the General Conference Committee on Appropriations trying to choose how best to close the $611 million budget gap.
If a budget agreement can be reached early this coming week, we should be able to adjourn early this Friday, May 22 – saving the state from having to pay for another week of session.
We’re still considering House amendments on a few Senate bills and vice versa. There are less than 60 Senate and House bills left in conference committee. Many of these will probably end up getting laid over until next session because there simply isn’t time to address all of them.
To date, Gov. Fallin has signed more than 325 bills into law including seven of my Senate bills and fifteen of my House bills. You can learn more about these bills by visiting our website at www.oksenate.gov
We’re continuing to send the governor bills every day. The Senate sent SB 498 to her on Friday, which many people have expressed interest in this year. This bill will end the five-year ad valorem tax exemption for new wind farms beginning January 1, 2017. The tax incentive currently costs our state $44 million a year with little evidence of return benefits anywhere near that sum of money. The bill will ultimately save the taxpayers approximately $500 million over ten years.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to once again thank all of my wonderful pages who have helped assist my office and wherever else they were needed in the Senate. This year, I was fortunate to have the following students serve as pages: Christian Heritage School junior, Katrina Crumbacher; Romania exchange student, Magda Petrica; Broken Arrow senior, Addison Wimpee; homeschooled senior, Spencer Wilson; Verdigris senior, Rhema Smithwick; and Bixby homeschooled senior, Laura Hartje. The page program offers a unique opportunity for high school students to get hands on experience and a behind-the-scenes look at how their state government functions. I especially love the program because it teaches our youth that they do have a voice in the legislative process after they see all of the people and organizations advocating for their various causes each week. We’re now excepting applications for the 2016 session so if you’re interested, please contact my office.
To contact me at the Capitol, please write to Senator Nathan Dahm, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 534, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, call (405) 521-5551, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.