The 2017 Legislature is now more than halfway to the finish line!
AFR Day at the Capitol
 

We've celebrated Ag Day, Wheat Day, Conservation Day and 4-H Day recently at the Capitol. Now it's time for the AFR family to return for a visit with legislators about a variety of issues affecting our state. We hope you can join us on May 9 to advocate for responsible government and the future of rural Oklahoma. Please contact our office for more details or to RSVP.


Rainy Day Fund Bankrupt
It was revealed last week that the state's bank account did not have enough money to cover the monthly allocations owed to agencies in February, so the Office of Management and Enterprise Services withdrew all $270 million in our "savings account" (otherwise known as the Rainy Day Fund) to keep state bills paid. According to Secretary of Finance and Administration Preston Doerflinger, this procedure is constitutionally legal, however all the funds must be repaid by the end of June. If monthly collections between now and the end of the fiscal year are not strong enough to cover 2017 appropriations, the state would be forced to declare a revenue failure and agencies would be assessed another mid-year budget cut. Earlier this year, state entities were assessed a $35 million mid-year reduction in funding.

Consumer Protections Headed for Repeal
A Senate bill requested by lumber yards and hardware stores is set to repeal the state law that prohibits businesses from charging more than the advertised or shelf-listed price for most products. This law also currently prohibits the act of intentionally misleading or deceiving consumers and requires accurate weights and measurements on items such as animal feed, grocery store meat and produce. Initially drafted to apply only to certain types of products, it has been expanded to repeal the entire consumer protection law. SB 493 is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives in April.

Oklahoma Ag Day Award Winners
March 29 was Ag Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol, highlighted with the prestigious awards handed out by Governor Mary Fallin.  The Outstanding Achievement in Agriculture Award, commonly referred to as the Governor's Ag Hall of Fame Award, was presented to northeastern Oklahoma mushroom farmer and businessman Virgil Jurgensmeyer. T he Governor's Outstanding Public Serv ice in Agriculture Award went to Canadian County's Anna Belle Wiedemann. Panhandle conservation legend Hal Clark received the Governor's Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Award and Caddo County farmer Floyd King was posthumously awarded the Governor's Outstanding Legacy in Agriculture Award.

 

Perdue Has Confirmation Vote Scheduled
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal this week to finally allow a vote on April 24 to confirm former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture. The confirmation will only require 51 yes votes in order to pass and will be a straight up-or-down vote, held without any procedural hurdles, a good indicator of a successful passage.

Northwest Oklahoma Wildfire Assistance
USDA has announced a series of actions  as a result of wildfires that devastated parts of northwest Oklahoma. Included is e mergency grazing authorization, an emergency loan program and direct funding for rebuilding fence other items destroyed by the fires. Click below to read more about this much-needed federal assistance.

 

For more information contact:

 

Steve Thompson |  steve.thompson@afrmic.com | 405-218-5563

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