By Rep. RICK WEST
Lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted last week to pass the REAL ID bill.
The bill would bring Oklahoma into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, but our version includes a tax that is unreasonable, so and that’s why I voted against the bill.
Some call it a fee, but there’s no doubt that House Bill 1845 includes a tax for Oklahomans, and I came to the legislature to cut government, not to raise taxes.
Furthermore, this bill is an obvious attempt of the federal government to try to tie our hands. It’s an unfunded mandate that essentially taxes Oklahomans on their rights.
One of my colleagues questioned whether the federal government should be demanding unfunded mandates of the states. He also made the point that we can’t stop letting undocumented people into our country, but we can restrict the movements of our own citizens.
I agree with him and I hope there’s still a possibility we may get Washington to repeal some of this law.
The federal government enacted REAL ID in 2005 as a response to the terrorist attacks against the nation in 2001. The REAL ID will contain biometric information, such as facial recognition points and fingerprints, as well as a radio frequency ID strip or bar code that can read all personal data stored on the card and be shared with any agency requiring the ID.
I simply think there’s a better way than the bill Oklahoma has on the table, so I voted “no.”
Despite my vote, the bill still received a majority and now heads to the Senate.
As for my bills, things are moving along well.
The bill to require school buses to have strobe lights passed out of the Public Safety Committee last week with a vote of 13 to 1. My advanced directive bill unanimously cleared the Health Services and Long-Term Care Committee earlier this month, too.
Lastly, the bill modifying branding laws for calves who are persistent infected, or P.I. Positive, also received unanimous approval of members in the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
Each of these bills are now eligible to be heard on the house floor. If approved, they’ll move over to the Senate and receive similar hearings.
Unfortunately, my bill allowing hunters to run deer with dogs did not pass in the Wildlife Committee last week. I think there’s just a big misconception of what’s happening in our part of the state, and lawmakers from other areas were concerned we’d run deer straight out of their counties. But it’s not like “The Fox and the Hound” movie, and frankly, nobody would need to run deer in a place like Boise City because there just aren’t trees.
That’s the way it goes up at the Capital though. Sometimes the bills you think will pass get held up unexpectedly. I’m not too beat up about it, and I’m really looking forward to my other bills getting hearings in front of the full House of Representatives.
As the session moves forward, I’ll be on KPRV every Friday at 7:35 a.m. to talk about what’s happening at the Capital, and I hope you’ll tune in. I’m also always at the LeFlore County GOP office Fridays from 9 a.m. until noon. If you can’t swing by and say hello, give me a call on my Capitol phone at (405) 557-7413. You can also email me at [email protected]. God bless you.
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