Legislative Session Opened February 6, 2017
The OCC IMPACT Committee is tracking bills proposed for the 2017 Oklahoma Legislative Session. The Theological Statements on the
provide guidance for the Committee's work. Legislation related to the six issues outlined in the Theological Statements is monitored throughout the session. Almost half of the 2,171 bills filed relate to Criminal Justice, Education, Environment, Health, Immigration, or Poverty. The IMPACT Committee reviews these bills and selects the ones deemed of primary importance to attaining the vision set forth in the Theological Statements.
New Feature: Bills being tracked will be listed on OCC website
This year a listing of the bills tracked by the IMPACT Committee will be maintained on the OCC website, with updates as they become available. This will make the information available for you to access in your time frame. Action alerts will continue to be e-mailed but not routine changes. If a specific bill is of utmost importance to you, you can sign up for updates from the Legislature's website by clicking this link
. A caution: this is good and accurate information but there is a lot of it. Be judicious about how many bills you include. A lead person from the IMPACT Committee is assigned for each of the six focus areas tracked. If you have input about legislation for the IMPACT Committee, please share it at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your e-mail will be forwarded to the appropriate lead person. He or she will contact you if further information is needed.
The Start of a Bill Becoming Law
At the beginning of the session many bills, called shell bills, are introduced with a title but no real content. Many other bills are duplica
or relate to the same subject. The first work of the legislature is sorting through these
bills, condensing, combining, and culling them. This work is done by committees assigned by subject matter in both the House and the Senate. Each member of the legislature serves on several committees. Want to know the Committees on which your representatives serve? Look it up on the Oklahoma State Legislature
. Click on
and find yours. Your representatives help decide which bills move to the next step or die in committee. You, of course, can contact your legislators about any bill--but contacting your legislator about a bill assigned to
one of his or her committees
would have an even greater impact. The Legislature works within a
with prescribed timelines for processing bills. Getting a bill out of Committee is the first hurdle toward getting a bill you favor passed. Killing a bill in Committee short-circuits its success.
Legislation Basic Bill Search
The listing of bills posted on the OCC website (
) includes links to
. Clicking on the number of the bill will open the actual bill to learn its
History, Amendments, Bill Summaries, Versions, Votes,
under tabs listed by these titles. The
tab leads you to the bill. New bills are noted as such and the total document is under consideration. Many bills amend current law. When those bills are opene
d, the current law appears and proposed amendments are indicated by crossing out words being removed and
words being added. Scanning through the bill searching out these markings ma
y facilitate your inquiry as they indicate the only proposed changes.
If you want more information about the legislative process, see the Oklahoma Policy Institute's
. The Institute also has valuable information about many of the same areas the IMPACT Committee tracks. One area it tracks that the IMPACT Committee tracks only as it relates to our six issue areas is the state budget. Its
online budget guide
is most helpful.
Legislators Need Your Support
Every election has consequences. This year there is an unusually large group of newly-elected
legislators, perhaps inexperienced but with new, fresh ideas. They represent you and they need to h
ar from you regarding legislation you want and legislation you do not w
t. If they get
even five negative letters or e-mails and no supportin
dence, what are they to think? The opposite is also true. When writing or cal
ling your legislators, first and foremost always be polite. State up front who you are
and where you live by city and zip code. Legislators pay more attention to people living in their districts. State specifically what you are contacting them about,
"I strongly support House Bill 1xxx related to classroom instruction."
Tell them why you support it. If you have a personal story include it but keep it short.
"I have been a classroom teacher for 20 years and received the extra training this bill provides on my own. It really helped me handle hard to control children."
If they support your recommendation, even if it fails, send them a quick, short thank you note or e-mail recognizing their effort and responsiveness to your concerns.