Saturday, May 19, 2018

Gov. Fallin recaps successes of 2018 legislative session

Governor Mary Fallin Highlights Successes in 2018 Legislative Session

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today complimented lawmakers for passing criminal justice reform legislation, appropriating a record amount of funding for public schools, and approving a budget for the upcoming fiscal year without cuts to state agencies.

 The $7.6 billion budget puts significantly more money toward education, mental health services, and public safety.

 “The budget includes many of the priorities I have requested lawmakers to approve the past three years,” said Fallin. “It provides for a teacher pay raise and additional funding for public schools as well as increased funding for mental health and corrections to implement criminal justice reform measures.”

“For the first time in years, no agency is receiving a cut. This budget provides a long-term solution to multi-year budget deficits and helps reduce the reliance on one-time funds.”

In all, the governor received 342 measures for consideration during this year’s session. She signed 324 and vetoed 18.

2018 Policy Highlights

“Common education receives a 19.8 percent increase in funding for the upcoming fiscal year, which is the largest appropriation for public schools in state history. The appropriation includes $353 million to fund teacher pay raises that average $6,100 per teacher, which move Oklahoma teacher from last in the seven-state region to second for average annual pay, and from 49th in the nation to 29th. When taking into account the cost of living, Oklahoma teachers will be the 12th-highest-paid in the country. It also has $52 million for support personnel pay raises, $24 million for flex health benefits; $33 million for textbooks, and $17 in new funding for the school funding formula.

“Improving the quality and outcomes in education is the single-most important thing we can do to attract and retain jobs, alleviate poverty, and help Oklahomans have fulfilling and productive lives.” – Governor Mary Fallin

  • House Bill 1023XX – establishes a new teacher salary schedule, the largest teacher pay increase in state history. Teachers will receive a $6,100 pay raise on average in the upcoming school year.
  • HB 1026XX – provides a $1,250 annual increase in pay for school support personnel.
  • HB 3705 – appropriates $2.9 billion, a 19.7 percent increase over last year, for K-12 public education.  This is the largest appropriation to education in state history. Funding contained in HB 3705 includes $353.5 million for teacher pay; $52 million for support personnel pay: $33 million for textbooks: $17 million for the state aid formula; and $24.7 million for flex health care benefits.  The total increase in common education funding for the 2019 fiscal year is $480.2 million.
  • Senate Bill 1171 – establishes work-based learning opportunities, such as apprenticeships and internships, as a duty of the Governor’s Council of Workforce and Economic Development (GCWED) in an effort to improve the state’s talent pipeline.
  • SB 980 – creates a tiered certification program for teachers so that high-quality teachers have the ability to advance in their careers without having to leave the classroom to become administrators.
  • SB 1196 – allows junior and senior high school students to participate in concurrent enrollment program, regardless of location in the state.
  • SB 1370 – Allows high school students to replace one credit of math for a three-hour per school day CareerTech program that is endorsed or aligned to industries in Oklahoma.
  • HB 2009 – requires schools to annually publish a report listing all increases in wages, salaries, rates of pay or fringe benefits and any changes to job class to increase transparency.
  • HB 2860 – requires school districts to provide a link to the State Department of Education’s Oklahoma cost accounting system and school district financial information on their websites to increase transparency.
  • HB 3311 – requires the inclusion of civics in the subject matter standards for history, social studies and U.S. government

Economic Development & Commerce

  • SB 897 – codifies the Incentive Approval Committee for the Quality Jobs program to review all applications for approval and oversight.  This ensures taxpayer interests are represented when Quality Jobs applications are reviewed.
  • SB 923 –implements changes recommended by the Incentive Evaluation Commission for Small Employer Quality Jobs by increasing the maximum number of full-time employees from 90 to 500.
  • HB 3324 – provides for the transfer of 5 percent of the quarterly incentive payments made by the Oklahoma Tax Commission to qualifying establishments related to the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Incentive Act, the Small Employer Quality Jobs Incentive Act and the 21st Century Quality Jobs Incentive Act to the Quick Action Closing Fund.
  • SB 1585 – establishes automotive engineer tax credits by creating several income tax credits designed to incentivize qualified employers and employees in the automotive manufacturing industry.
  • SB 1388 – creates a statewide framework for wireless providers to work with municipalities and others to deploy small cell devices.
  • SB 1475 – creates the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission, which will review each occupational or professional licensing once every four years and make recommendations to the Legislature.
  • HB 2933 – a product of the Governor’s Task Force on Occupational Licensing, directs licensing boards to grant a one-year waiver of fees associated with licensure or certification to a low-income applicant.

Health & Human Services

  • HB 2932 – establishes Medicaid work requirement eligibility for able-bodied adults without dependents. Directs the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to apply to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a waiver.
  • HB 2825 – directs the Department of Human Services (DHS) to explore opportunities to enhance community partnerships for the purpose of linking Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients with career and technology education and training programs. This will expand opportunities for TANF recipients to participate in and complete employment and training activities.
  • HB 3104 – clarifies that DHS must report any infant who is diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
  • SB 1367 – states that a law enforcement officer may not take a person into custody if the officer was contacted by the person in question for medical assistance (either for themselves or another person).

Public Safety

  • HB 2798 creates the Opioid Overdose Fatality Review Board.
  • HB 2635 – protects the motor vehicle report (driving record) from being expunged after one year and keeps it at the three-year window for insurance and business owners who hire people to drive for companies.
  • HB 2651 – allows for a course of study for students who are training to acquire a commercial driver’s license.  This allows those training sites to include human trafficking material in their classes.
  • SB 1203 – reduces the fine for speeding violations for 1-10 mph over the speed limit to $100.
  • SB 1517 – creates the Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care to create a list of best practices for children and their families at risk of adverse childhood experiences.
  • HB 3300 – the Breanna Bell Act, which protects people with disabilities from sexual assault.
  • HB 1124 – the Justice for Danyelle Act, which prohibits sex offenders from loitering within 1,000 feet of their victims’ home.
  • HB 3328 – Creates the Commission on the Prevention of Abuse of Elderly and Vulnerable Adults.
  • HB 2630 – helps the Department of Corrections (DOC) expand the Global Positioning Satellite Program (GPS by loosening some of the rules that disqualify certain offenders from participating. These requirements apply to low-level non-violent offenders who are better managed in a public setting.
  • SB 904 – allows DOC to fund community sentencing programs across the state.

Veterans & Military

  • HB 3042 – directs Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) to develop a long-term care facility to replace the Talihina Veterans Center.
  • SB 922 – establishes the Oklahoma Women Veterans Program to ensure that women veterans have equitable access to federal and states veterans’ benefits and services. The program will be overseen by a women veterans coordinator.
  • SB 1053 – authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain certification to accept payments and reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Government Modernization & Budget

  • HB 1010XX – provides the revenue to fund a historic teacher pay raise. This is accomplished by an increase of $1 per pack of cigarettes, taxing little cigars at the same rate as cigarettes; raising the fuel tax by 3 cents a gallon on gasoline and 6 cents a gallon on diesel; and raising the gross production tax from 2 percent to 5 percent on all wells.
  • HB 1011XX – puts a $17,000 cap on deductions on adjusted gross income. Charitable contributions and medical expenses are not capped.
  • HB 3603 – authorizes the governor to appoint the executive director of the Department of Tourism.
  • HB 3036 – makes the commissioner of health a gubernatorial appointee, with the advice and consent of the Senate.
  • HB 1024XX - provides a tiered pay raise for state employees, ranging from $750 to $2,000 depending on salary.

Criminal Justice Reform

“Our state prisons are filled to well over capacity so it is crucial that we make some changes to our criminal justice system. These bills will not jeopardize public safety while addressing Oklahoma’s prison population. Too few Oklahomans are getting the treatment they need for substance abuse and mental health issues, and are instead winding up in our criminal justice system.” – Governor Mary Fallin

  • SB 650 – authorizes no more than one nonviolent felony to apply for expungement if they have no new convictions or pending charges within the last seven years.
  • SB 786 – eliminates the mandatory minimum and allows a judge to sentence up to the current maximum sentence of seven years in prison for burglary in the second degree, and creates a new felony offense, burglary in the third degree (defined as breaking into a vehicle), punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • SB 649 – reduces enhanced sentences for certain repeat nonviolent felonies.
  • SB 689 – creates risk and needs assessment as a tool for sentencing.
  • SB 793 – changes the penalties for commercial drug offenses, and distinguishes conduct by possession with intent to distribute, distribution, and manufacturing.
  • HB 2281 – adjusts penalties for numerous low-level property offenses, including larceny, forgery and other “paper crimes.”
  • HB 2286 – creates an administrative parole process for nonviolent offenders who comply with case plans in prison so that the Pardon and Parole Board can focus on more serious offenders, and establishes a geriatric parole release process for inmates who are 60 and older and who have been determined to not be a public safety risk.


  • HB 3576 – creates the Oklahoma State Safety Oversight Program to be overseen by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). It directs ODOT to develop and enforce standards for all private and public rail-fixed guideway public transportation systems statewide that are not administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.
  • HB 2650 – amends the specifications of merging traffic in and near construction work zones allowing for more flexibility within the confines of federal law.  It allows for more efficient methods of traffic control, increasing safety and decreasing congestion.
  • HB 2578 – creates the Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) within the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The purpose of ACES is to create a partnership of service providers (similar to CADSQ) to more effectively respond to the needs of the aviation, aerospace and defense industries in the areas of education and training, research, and economic development.
  • HB 2253 – closes a tax loophole by requiring 50 percent of an aircraft’s operations be charter to qualify for the aircraft excise tax exemption.


  • SB 1576 –   keeps wind farms from interfering with the flight paths of military installations, thereby protecting the work and mission of Oklahoma’s military bases.
  • SB 893 - imposes a cap of $500,000 on the zero emission facilities electricity production tax credit. The cap is only applicable to credits that are earned from electricity produced by means of water, sun or geothermal energy.


  • HB 1340 – gives retirees in all of the state retirement systems a one-time payment in varying amounts.
  • SB 527 – gives someone who is disabled in the line of duty with less than 20 years of service the half-pay cost-of-living adjustment.


  • HB 2913 - creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agriculture Pilot Program to be administered by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF).
  • SB 1600 – increases appropriations to ODAFF, allowing an additional $400,000 in funding to rural fire departments across Oklahoma.

2019 Fiscal Year Budget Highlights


  • Funds core government services.
  • Uses a low percentage of one-time funds, which will be used to fund one-time costs.
  • Education will have the largest funding increase.

Health and Human Services

  • $22.6 million: Fully funds the Pinnacle Plan and restores provider rate cuts for the Department of Human Services, and money to go to the Developmental Disabilities Services waiting list. This fully funds the Pinnacle Plan, and funds services for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens.


  • $17.5 million: for the FY 18 supplemental annualized for the Department of Corrections (DOC).
  • Payroll-even after the $1,500 raise signed into law in March 2018, Oklahoma is 18 percent below contiguous states in pay. The vacancy rate for correctional officers is currently 30 percent, agency-wide, it is 22 percent. These vacancies require employees to work overtime to staff critical correctional officer posts which put a strain on an already overburdened payroll. This supplemental will help DOC address the pay deficit for qualified applicants.
  • Contract beds- Oklahoma currently has more inmates than beds, and many inmates that are sentenced to DOC custody will wait in county jails before being received by DOC. This supplemental will go towards making a timely payment to the counties where these inmates are housed.
  • Health services- costs associated with the over-50-year-old population accounts for 43 percent of DOC’s cost for specialty care, pharmaceuticals, laboratory services etc. Travel to medical appointments with outside providers has increased with an aging population.
  • Critical needs and necessary purchases- aging infrastructure has suffered from decades of neglect, and money is being redirected from planned projects to emergencies.  Repairs to critical infrastructure are a necessary and immediate need.

Criminal Justice Reform
$7.1 million:

  • Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will receive $4 million to fund risk/needs assessments, and $1 million will go to drug and mental health treatment courts.
  • $2 million to restore provider rate cuts.
  • $111,000 to the Pardon and Parole Board to hire two new field staff positions that were eliminated due to budget cuts. Funding will ensure that work activities, including the processing of pardons and paroles, will not be delayed.
  • $4.8 million: The Department of Corrections Defender Management System-funding for an entirely new system will allow DOC to track and monitor offenders on probation in one system and will allow for shared data regarding offenders to be shared in one database statewide.
  • $500,000: Pay for Success is a proven program to reduce the number of women sent to prison and the resulting impact incarceration has on their children. Oklahoma is using Pay for Success contracting to improve criminal justice outcomes for women, reduce incarceration, and, consequently, lower overall public sector costs. The Pay for Success contract between the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) and Family and Child Services is the 17th Pay for Success contract in the U.S. and the first-ever PFS contract focused on female incarceration.

General Government

  • $53.695 million: State employee pay raise- it has been 11 years since state employees have had an across-the-board pay raise. The amount is staggered according to employee salary.
  • $7.5 million: Higher Education Concurrent Enrollment- provides funding so high school seniors can take college classes for college credit while still in high school. This program saves families money on tuition costs and reduces student debt.
  • $8.36 million: Provides raises to other educators outside of K-12, such as CareerTech, Oklahoma School for the Blind, Oklahoma School for the Deaf and Department of Corrections teachers.
  • $4 million: State Emergency Fund- additional funding needed due to the wildfire outbreak in west and northwest Oklahoma.
  • $500,000: ABLE Commission- will help fund data migration from archaic system to a new, more user-friendly web-based solution, and the number of locations where alcohol is sold is expected to double with new laws, and more agents are needed to monitor locations.
  • $4 million: Closing Fund
  • $2 million: Performance audits-funding will go toward independent auditing firm performing performance audits to ensure that tax dollars are maximized and are being spent on mission-critical needs. First agencies on the list for audits are the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services,  the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety.
  • Commerce- $445,000 to Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES)-this initiative aims to grow the aerospace industry, and will help drive further job creation, economic growth and increased tax revenue for the state.
  • Agriculture - $4,000 to rural fire and $1,000 to the Made in Oklahoma program.


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