Five weeks are now complete for the 2017 Legislature!
Legislature Sails Through First Checkpoint
The first sift of proposed legislation in 2017 occurred Thursday, March 2 as any bill that hadn't advanced out of a committee was officially sidelined for the rest of the regular session. Of the 2,246 measures that were introduced in January, only 830 received committee approval and remain active for further consideration.

After almost a decade of defiance, the state legislature has finally made the necessary adjustments for Oklahoma drivers licenses to become compliant with the federal REAL ID Act. HB 1845 set a blazing pace through the process in 2017 and was the first bill to successfully navigate the course to Governor Fallin's desk. With her signature on March 2nd, state-issued identification will remain valid for boarding planes and entering federal facilities.


Feral Hogs
As virtually every county in Oklahoma faces a growing threat from feral hogs, the legislature continues to stumble in the search for a safe and effective framework for their removal. Two bills remain active ( HB 1798 & SB 615) that would remove the authority game wardens have to regulate night shooting of feral swine. Governor Fallin vetoed similar bills in 2016 due to public safety and poaching concerns and is also expected to do the same this year if these measures make it to her office.


State Credit Downgrade
Standard & Poor's (S&P) Global Rating lowered the state of Oklahoma's bond rating one level on March 1, pointing to weak revenue collections and the likelihood the legislature would not enact revenue raising measures. S&P lowered the rating for general obligation bonds and debt backed by the state's credit enhancement reserve fund, as well as the Capitol Restoration Project bonds. This downgrade will lead to higher debt costs for the ongoing Capitol repairs and future state infrastructure projects unless significant corrective action is taken.

EPA Water Rule 
The EPA has begun a process to reform the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. For the past several years AFR has maintained that the rule illegally expanded regulatory jurisdiction beyond the scope of the Clean Water Act. Areas covered by the WOTUS rule include ditches, puddles and even dry land. The previous EPA administration contended those areas should be regulated because they are linked to streams, rivers and other navigable waters by a so-called significant nexus. This federal agency change of direction is a result of an executive order signed by President Donald Trump to review the WOTUS rule.


NFU Convention
Members of the AFR family traveled west this week to San Diego for the 115th Annual National Farmers Union convention. Oklahoma delegates participated in the always vigorous policy process and helped honor our old friend Mike Dain. Check out Sam's audio report below for more details about the AFR adventure in southern California.


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