Capitol Considerations by Senator Bill Coleman
Senator Bill Coleman, Ponca City-District 10 - August 26, 2022 6:40 am
Senator Bill Coleman-Ponca City
As with most professions, it’s important to continually update yourself on industry developments and to learn or brush up on relative skills in your field. This is even more important for us in the Legislature as we have to make policy decisions that are sometimes outside our area of expertise. For instance, I’m the Vice Chair of the Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee, and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation and the Public Safety, Rules, and Transportation Committees. I’m a business owner and member of the media, so occasionally issues come up that I’m not familiar with and have to educate myself through conferences and committee meetings.
Last month, our state hosted the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), which is an opportunity for the 14 member states to come together to learn about and discuss issues of importance to our region of the country. Legislators share what policy actions their states have taken that have been either successful or not, so that we can all learn and be more efficient in addressing issues in our own states. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to policies. If something wasn’t successful, we don’t want to do it. However, if it was, we need to see how we can implement it in Oklahoma to meet the needs of our citizens. Collaboration in government like this is crucial and it’s also helped me develop some great relationships with colleagues in other states.
This was a great event thanks partly to the 175 volunteers, including our very own Senate staff who helped organize the conference, staff the meetings, and help with other events like the youth program. I was honored to get to emcee the parade of flags ceremony at the closing state dinner, featuring several Boy Scouts from around the state. We appreciated them helping us with this special ceremony. Overall, SLC was a wonderful event that showcased our beautiful capital city, and all the great things Oklahoma has to offer.
Interim studies will be starting in the next few weeks. These studies will take place throughout September and October. Our Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee will be holding eight studies, including two of mine. I want to research alcohol direct shipment and how other states are dealing with this growing industry. I’ll also be holding a joint study with Rep. Judd Strom of Copan to learn more about day workers, also known as traveling cowboys. Other topics to be examined include the abstract and title system; childcare center regulation and access review; the Clinton-Sherman Industrial Park; a U.S. Civil Rights Trail public/private tourism initiative; and another joint meeting with the House on Public Infrastructure Districts (PID).
We have about three months until the bill request deadline for the 2023 legislative session. I’ve been meeting with local businesses, organizations, and constituents around the district about issues of importance to them, and I’d love to hear from you as well. It’s important that you keep me updated on questions and concerns you have about current Oklahoma laws and policies and also share your ideas for future legislation. If you have a meeting or other event you’d like me to attend or would like to discuss a legislative matter, please contact me by calling (405) 521-5581 or emailing [email protected].