Friday, May 31, 2024

Legislature concludes action, adjourns session

The legislature adjourned sine die this evening, ending legislative action for the year (though given recent years, a special session is not out of the question at some point).

Here are some session summaries from Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall (both are term limited).

Pro Tem Treat Comments on Sine Die Adjournment of 59th Regular Session

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 30th) – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, today released the following statement and highlights on the conclusion of the 59th Oklahoma Legislature’s regular session.

“As we conclude another legislative session, it is a time of reflection and looking forward,” Pro Tem Treat said. “I am confident that I am exiting my term on a high note and leaving my position as pro tem in a mindset of peace and gratitude. I have always wanted to leave my service with the Senate and state in a better place than when I came into office. I am appreciative to those in my district who have entrusted me to serve as their senator in District 47 over the last 14 years. They put their confidence in me and have allowed me to be here since 2011 and I could not be more thankful for them entrusting me in this role. I am also thankful to all of the members who voted for me to serve as pro tempore of the Senate since 2019. I would be remiss if I didn’t extend my gratitude to the love of my life, Maressa, who has been by my side during this entire journey, as well as our children, Mason, Cooper and Olivia. My family is the most important part of my life and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their love and support.  

“Together, with my family by my side and my Senate family, we have many accomplishments that we can be proud of and I can be confident to say that I am leaving the Senate better than I found it.”

2024 Senate Legislative Accomplishments

Car Tag Legislation

  • Senate Bill 2035, the Mason Treat Act, creates a new system for temporary license plates on vehicles sold in the state, whether from a dealer or through private sale. 
  • This change became Pro Tem Treat’s top priority after his 16-year-old son was involved in a near-deadly accident during a traffic stop on I-40 that was initiated due to there not being a tag on his car. While his car was legally owned and he had all the proper documentation, he didn’t have a tag on his car due to current law.

Transparent budget process

  • The Senate made history by implementing a new process to make crafting a state budget transparent from beginning to end.
  • This allowed the public and the press to have a behind-the-scenes look at every step in the Senate’s process, starting with discussing state agency budget requests and ending with negotiating with the House and the governor.


  • House Bill 4156 cracks down on illegal immigration in Oklahoma at a time when the Biden administration has failed to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • This critical public safety measure makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to be present in the state and includes misdemeanor and felony penalties for those found to be in violation of the law.

Grocery Tax Cut 

  • Senate Bill 1283 eliminates the state portion of the grocery tax. Oklahoma was one of only 13 states to still impose this tax. 
  • Senate Bill 1283 is the largest tax cut in state history.
  • Once it goes into effect in the fall, Oklahomans will begin seeing immediate relief every time they go to the grocery store, saving average families 5.5 times more when compared to a 0.25% tax cut. City and county taxes still apply.

Survivors Act 

  • The Survivor’s Act, or Senate Bill 1835, protects victims of domestic violence.
  • The measure directs a court to consider as a mitigating factor that the person has been abused physically, sexually, or psychologically by the person’s sexual partner, family member or member of the household, the trafficker of the person or other individual who used the person for financial gain when being sentenced.

Increasing Criminal Punishment for Strangulation 

  • Senate Bill 1211 increases the maximum time of imprisonment for strangulation offenses from three years to 10 years. 
  • This legislation was necessary to offer protection for victims of this abhorrent crime as strangulation is often a precursor to more severe or even fatal forms of abuse.  

Tornado recovery funds

  • House Bill 2912 created a new revolving fund for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to help local governments in communities hit by tornadoes.
  • House Bill 2913 appropriated $45 million to help the state and storm-ravaged communities approved for FEMA assistance unlock federal disaster relief funds.

Public safety

  • Senate Bill 1457 ensures first responders are eligible for paid leave and mental health treatment if a physician diagnoses them with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their work in the line of duty. 
  • Senate Bill 1658 eliminates the statute of limitations in rape cases when DNA evidence emerges or a suspect confesses to the crime to ensure rape victims get justice, regardless of how much time has passed.  

Increasing penalties for retail thefts

  • Senate Bill 1877 allows law enforcement to aggregate the value of items stolen over a 180-day period in order to target repeat offenders and crack down on organized retail thefts.
  • In an effort to protect frontline employees and retailers, Senate Bill 1735 expands the definition of second-degree burglary to include entering areas of businesses commonly reserved for personnel. Someone who enters such a restricted area with the intent to commit a crime may be charged with a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for subsequent offenses. 

Criminal justice reform

  • Senate Bill 11 allows incarcerated Oklahomans to apply for tuition assistance and financial aid when they are close to completing their prison sentence. This encourages inmates to learn new skills or trades while incarcerated and helps them enroll in a degree program that can make it easier for them to find a job.

House Adjourns Sine Die After Historic Conservative Achievements

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 30th) – The Oklahoma House of Representatives adjourned sine die Thursday after supporting Oklahomans' priorities and passing numerous pieces of conservative legislation.

"I have always said that the House is the body closest to the people, and we showed that once again this session by passing multiple pieces of legislation that were priorities of our constituents," said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, who is term-limited after serving as the longest-tenured speaker in state history. "Throughout my time in the Legislature I have taken service to my district, and the citizens all across our state, very seriously, and it has been an honor to serve as Speaker of the House for the past eight years. President Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy.’ I have seen that to be true through both highs and lows during my time in the House, but I am proud to say that without a doubt our state is in a better place now than it was when I was first elected. That is only possible through the effort of my Caucus, and I am thankful for their support over the last decade as we have made Oklahoma a better place to live, work and raise a family."

The Legislature sent over 430 bills to the governor this session, including bills to address illegal immigration, codify the Women's Bill of Rights and prohibit ranked-choice voting within the state.
The House also launched an easily accessible online budget dashboard that details appropriations for the previous fiscal year, state agencies' budget requests, and each chamber's official negotiating position.

"The House Budget Transparency Portal has given Oklahomans an unprecedented amount of access to the budget process,” McCall said. "Through the hard work of House staff, Oklahomans have been able to see every step of the budget process play out, and can see exactly where their hard earned tax dollars are being spent. Although the House would have preferred to see an income tax cut included, the budget passed by the Legislature is a good budget that funds core services and decreases government spending from last year. I’m proud of the House negotiating team for their hard work throughout the process, and confident that Oklahomans will be pleased with the result.”

The House Republican Caucus' major accomplishments throughout the two-year 59th Legislature include:

  • Invested a record $1.5B in new funding to public K-12 education between FY19-FY25, including $839.5M in FY24 and FY25 (HB1934, HB2901, HB2903, HB2904, SB1118, SB1119, SB1121, SB36X, SB1125, SB1122)
  • Established a tiered system of refundable tax credits for parents who choose to send their children to private schools or homeschool them (HB1934)
  • Invested $10M into a three-year program to employ a literacy instructional team in school districts (SB1118)
  • Created a three-year school safety pilot program (HB2903, HB2904)
  • Supported six weeks paid maternity leave for public school educators (SB1121)
  • Updated graduation requirements to require four years of math and six credits in subjects aligning with their Individual Career and Academic Plan (HB3278)
  • Required school personnel to include a student's parent or guardian in any electronic communications (HB3958)
  • Allowed class credit for students completing a religious or morality course from an independent entity as approved by the school board (HB1425, sent to governor)
Tax Relief:
  • Eliminated the 4.5% state sales tax on groceries (HB1955), providing the largest single-year tax cut in state history
  • House Republicans also passed a slate of income tax (HB1954, HB1953, HB2285, HB1040X, HB1002XXX, HB2949, HB2950) and corporate tax reductions (HB2948), but the Senate did not act on the measures.
States' Rights:
  • Protected religious organizations from discrimination due to their religion (SB404)
  • Codified the Women's Bill of Rights (HB1449, sent to governor)
  • Ensured children do not undergo irreversible gender reassignment surgeries (SB613)
  • Extended the protest period in the initiative petition process to 90 business days (HB1105, sent to governor)
  • Kept Oklahoma's elections free and fair by prohibiting ranked-choice voting (HB3156)
Public Safety:
  • Created the crime of impermissible occupation when someone willfully and without permission enters and remains in Oklahoma without having first obtained legal authorization to enter the U.S. (HB4156)
  • Overhauled the state's outdated sentencing structure for felony offenses (HB1792, sent to governor)
  • Provided $18M for sheriff and deputy pay raises in the FY2025 budget (HB2914, sent to governor)
  • Increased the punishments for domestic abuse against a pregnant woman (SB1046) and for strangulation against an intimate partner (SB1211)
  • Expanded workers' compensation claims for law enforcement to include post-traumatic stress disorder (SB1457)
  • Created a task force to study the implementation of a business court system in Oklahoma (SB473, sent to governor)

FY2025 Budget:
  • $12.47B state budget for FY2025 (SB1125, sent to governor)
  • $25M additional funding into the school funding formula
  • $27.6M for CareerTech to address its waitlist
  • $240M for new engineering and science facilities at OU and OSU
  • $350M for the new Oklahoma Capital Assets Maintenance and Protection Fund to cover deferred maintenance at state properties, state parks and public colleges and universities
  • $30M to increase reimbursement rates for developmental disability service providers
  • $3M to provide 300 additional individuals with developmental disability services
  • $15M increase to provide services to pregnant women
  • $74M to complete the new DPS training facility in Lincoln County
  • $2.5M for DPS academy to train more Highway Patrol troopers
  • $27.5M for new OSBI headquarters building
  • $1.5M to address the rape kits backlog
  • $45M in disaster relief to help tornado-impacted counties
  • $200M to Rural Economic Transportation Reliability & Optimization (RETRO) Fund
  • $50M to DEQ to upgrade levees along the Arkansas River
  • $12.7M to Oklahoma Water Resources Board to leverage federal funding in community water supply
  • $41M for airport economic development projects
The 60th Legislature will be seated in November and convene for Organizational Day on Jan. 7, 2025. The next legislative session begins Feb. 3, 2025.


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