By State Rep. JAMES LOCKHART
The 2012 legislative session is fast approaching. I have filed several bills on behalf of the people of House District 3. These bills are based on constituent calls I received this past year. Some of the issues raised affect so many Oklahomans in a negative manner that I am trying to change the law to better serve the people. I believe this is how democracy should function; the laws should be a reflection of the people’s needs.
One bill I filed addresses water quality. I received many calls concerning brown drinking water this past summer. While visiting with government officials, the comment was made that this was not a health concern and that people really had nothing to worry about. My response to that: People are required to pay their water bill each month and many of those months the water isn’t fit to drink or do laundry with.
Another piece of legislation I filed is designed to attract new businesses to areas of the state that suffer from high unemployment. The bill will offer certain tax incentives to companies that locate in Oklahoma counties with unemployment rates over eight percent. Basically, it is an attempt to get jobs to the people who need them the most.
Another piece of legislation pertains to people applying for state jobs. The bill will require applicants to sign a statement of non-collusion. Too often in state government, it is not what you know, but rather who you know that determines whether or not a person receives a job. I believe each time a person is hired on that basis, it is a slap in face to all those families who have struggled to put their children through college. Applicants for positions involving state funds should be hired based on the quality of their resume, instead of the quality of their political contacts.
There is a growing concern among my colleagues in the House of Representatives about our state agency budgets. Many of our state agencies rely heavily on federal funds as well as appropriations from the state. The current fiscal challenges our federal government faces will certainly continue to impact our state agencies as the federal government reins in spending.
I have filed a bill that directs all state agencies to prepare contingency budgets based on zero federal funding. This should serve as a wake-up call to all state agencies, if the federal government passes a balanced budget our state agencies need to be prepared for greatly reduced federal funding. A rule I was taught teaches, ‘prior planning prevents poor performance,’ I think this would serve our state agencies well.
It is an honor to serve the people of House District 3 in LeFlore County. It is very important to me that each of you know my door is always open and your voice is always heard. If I can be of assistance please call me at home at (918) 653-7571 or at the Capitol at (405) 557-7413 or find me on Facebook or by email [email protected].