2019 Joint Legislative Agenda: State Chamber, Greater OKC Chamber and Tulsa Regional Chamber

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recognizes the benefits of partnerships when working to represent the business community and create a pro-business climate statewide. In 2019, the Chamber will work together with the State Chamber of Oklahoma and the Tulsa Regional Chamber to lobby the State Legislature on behalf of businesses statewide.

GENERAL ISSUES

Government Reform
The Chambers support efforts to modernize Oklahoma’s structure of government and improve its effectiveness, including the following:

  • Direct appointment of agency heads
  • Creation of the Office of Accountability
  • Board/commission appointment reform

Workers’ Comp Reform
The Chambers support defending and improving the comprehensive workers’ compensation reform legislation passed by the legislature and signed by the governor during the 2013 session.

Economic Development Programs
The Chambers support retaining the state’s premier economic/community development programs, which are critical in attracting new businesses to the state, helping existing companies to expand and encouraging investment in communities across the state. The Chambers will work to protect the following key programs:

  • Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund 
  • Quality Jobs Act, 21st Century Quality Jobs Act, Small Employer Quality Jobs Act and the Prime Contractor Quality Jobs Act
  • Aerospace Engineer Tax Credit
  • Investment/New Jobs Tax Credit
  • Historical Building Rehabilitation Tax Credit

The Chambers also will pursue legislation to enact or modify an incentive to address the statewide shortage of software engineers. 

Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIFs) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)
The Chambers support retaining economic development programs that create and maintain jobs and encourage investments in Oklahoma including Tax Increment Financing Districts and Business Improvement Districts.

Incentive Evaluation Commission
The Chambers support the Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission (IEC), which was established to evaluate all business tax incentives at least once every four years and make recommendations to the Legislature and Governor to ensure the accountability and effectiveness of Oklahoma’s tax incentives.  These evaluations will show whether tax incentives were successful, cost-efficient and how they can be improved to achieve the expected outcomes that benefit our communities and Oklahoma’s economy.

State Tax Law
The Chambers support preservation of individual and corporate tax cuts/savings contained in the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 by opposing efforts to conform Oklahoma’s state tax law to federal law. The Chambers’ position protects Oklahoma businesses against increased federal taxes and would not impact state revenue collections.

Gun Legislation
The Chambers are fully supportive of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the responsible expansion of gun-owners’ rights in Oklahoma. However, the Chambers will oppose legislation that would allow open/concealed carry of guns into high-economic impact events (many of which are contractually required to prohibit weapons), including Horse Shows, the Oklahoma and Tulsa State Fairs, Olympic Qualifying on the Oklahoma River, High School Basketball and Wrestling Tournaments at the State Fairgrounds and NCAA and Big XII sporting events (including the Women’s College World Series, College Baseball, and NCAA and Big XII Basketball and Wrestling Tournaments).

The Chambers will also oppose legislation that would allow guns to be carried on college campuses, limit a business owner’s rights to prohibit weapons or allow guns to be carried by individuals who haven’t been tested/trained and do not have a permit.

The Chambers support the efforts of the “Oklahomans for Business and Property Owners’ Rights” coalition to defend against harmful gun legislation.

Criminal Justice/Sentencing Reform
The Chambers support legislation and funding for sentencing reforms and rehabilitation programs to ease the financial drain on Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, lessen the burden on jails and prisons throughout the state and allow non-violent offenders to enter the workforce more quickly, while balancing public safety needs.

Medical Marijuana
The chambers support legislation to protect an employers’ right to maintain a drug-free workplace and to enforce policies to prohibit employee impairment during work hours. 

Pension Reform
The Chambers support protecting the pension reforms which have improved the long-term fiscal condition of the state.

Oil & Gas Tax
The Chambers support a stable oil and gas tax structure which promotes the investment of drilling capital in Oklahoma.

i2E
The Chambers support continued funding for i2E programs, including the Seed Capital Fund. 

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET)
The Chambers support the constitutional provisions of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) to support the public health of Oklahomans.

 

HEALTH CARE ISSUES

 Extending Health Insurance Coverage to More Oklahomans
The Chambers support extending health insurance coverage to more Oklahoma residents, through pursuit of all available funds, to cover the costs of uncompensated care that is currently shifted to employers and health care providers.

Broadening Insure Oklahoma
The Chambers further support broadening Insure Oklahoma to provide health insurance coverage to more of the state’s uninsured.

Medical Education Funding
The Chambers support maintaining physician training funding for the state’s two largest medical schools in the base budgets of the University Hospitals Authority and Oklahoma State University Medical Authority. 

Physician Shortage/Rural Access
The Chambers support the following initiatives to address health care disparities: 1) incentivizing the recruitment and retention of primary care physicians, specialty physicians and allied health professionals in rural and underserved areas; and 2) expanding residency programs for the state’s medical schools. The Chambers support efforts to identify new funding streams dedicated to these initiatives.

The Chambers also support the appropriate expansion of technology platforms (such as telemedicine and telehealth) and data platforms to enhance access to health care for underserved Oklahomans.

 

TRANSPORTATION ISSUES

ODOT Eight-Year Plan
The Chambers support providing adequate annual dedicated funding necessary to preserve and implement the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) eight-year construction work plan. Furthermore, the Chambers will strongly oppose any effort to divert dedicated transportation funding to other areas of government.

State Bridge Improvement Plan
The Chambers support providing adequate annual dedicated funding to implement ODOT’s Bridge Improvement Plan to repair or replace all of Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridges on the state’s highway system by 2020 and further ensure that ODOT is able to maintain a nationally-leading bridge improvement program.

State Turnpike Plan
The Chambers support the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s “Driving Forward” Turnpike Program.

Federal Highway Trust Fund
The Chambers will work with the Oklahoma Congressional delegation and ODOT to secure a permanent funding solution for the Federal Highway Trust Fund (including mass transit programs).

The Chambers support adequate funding levels to properly maintain the national transportation system.

Infrastructure Investment Package
The Chambers support a comprehensive federal infrastructure package. Building on the flexibility of previous multi-year transportation reauthorizations for a coordinated federal/state/local-based decision making process, a robust investment package will enable the state to achieve much-needed progress in addressing critical infrastructure needs.

 

EDUCATION ISSUES

Long-Term Strategic Education Funding
The Chambers support the development of a multi-year strategic plan that addresses the public education funding needs of tomorrow and emphasizes the skills needed to compete for college and career in a modern economy.

Teacher Incentives
The Chambers support addressing the teacher shortage through heightened recruitment efforts, rewards for teacher performance and experience, and incentives for teachers to work in high-priority areas.

Concurrent Enrollment
The Chambers support fully funding access for seniors in support of current law and expanding access to concurrent enrollment for high school juniors as funding is available.

Oklahoma’s Promise
Oklahoma’s Promise is one of the most successful college access programs in the nation. The Chambers oppose legislation that would diminish the program’s focus on college access. We support efforts to increase the number of college graduates and to maintain the direct allocation of state funds, which ensures full funding of the scholarships earned by Oklahoma students. 

Career Readiness and Certification 
Oklahoma needs more of its workforce to have the opportunity to earn post-secondary education, including certifications, degrees and other training targeted toward in-demand skills and industry needs. The Chambers support:

  • Increasing the number of credentialed and degreed Oklahomans through innovations and funding for higher education and CareerTech. This should include aggressively pursuing the goals of Complete College America.
  • Concurrent enrollment to help achieve the Complete College America goals by enabling more students enter college and obtain a college degree.
  • Development of more work-based learning opportunities such as internships and apprenticeship programs.

 

For more information, please contact a member of our Government Relations staff.