Poteau school administrators visit capitol

Poteau school administrators visit capitol


I had a very good visit with several administrators from Poteau Public Schools last week who made the long drive to the Capitol to see their government in action.

Supt. Scott Kempenich, Asst. Supt. Diane Tillery and Michael Cullwell, the campus director of the Poteau and Spiro campuses of the Kiamichi Technology Center, came to talk to me about many education-related bills. Education always receives the largest portion of the appropriated state budget, and lawmakers annually tweak policies for our schools and our higher education institutions. This year is no different, so there was plenty to discuss.

I always enjoy visits from people from the district. For those who can’t make the trek, I strive to keep you informed through this column, and you’re always free to call my office or email me, or hopefully we’ll just run into each other back home.

Meanwhile, we’re still working through the committee process at the Capitol, and some bills have already passed off the House floor

My House Bill 2972 passed the House Banking, Financial Services and Pensions Committee but hasn’t yet been heard by the full House. This bill would require organizations such as the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to accept cash at their games and would not allow them to charge extra for cash-only transactions.

My House Bill 2973 is set to be heard in the Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee for Finance, Revenue and Taxation on Feb. 26. This measure would extend tax-free vehicle title transfers from grandparents to their grandchildren.

House Bill 1010 passed the House unanimously last week and now heads to the Senate. This bill relates to the Central Purchasing Act and would allow a state agency to purchase equipment from a local business if they can acquire what they need at or below state contract pricing. This bill was a request from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Department of Tourism. This would keep these agencies from having to go out of state to get any equipment they might need. This would help places like Wister State Park. This is important to rural counties that might not have quick access to large suppliers.

One additional bill has been referred to the House Wildlife Committee. House Bill 2270 will allow Wildlife Management Areas in the state to charge an $85 user fee from out-of-state hunters and fishers. These dollars will stay with the Wildlife Management Areas to help pay for roads, construction and repairs to these state facilities. Oklahoma has many beautiful areas that draw hunters and fishers from far and wide, but we need to make sure our out-of-state visitors help pay for the upkeep of these resources alongside our taxpayers.

As always, if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at rick.west@okhouse.gov.

Rick West serves District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of LeFlore County.

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Craig Hall
Publisher and owner of Heavener Ledger and leflorecountyjournal.com