The curtain will be drawn on an active legislative session Friday as area legislators will appear at the Legislative Luncheon Wrap-Up. The luncheon, sponsored by the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Ardmore Convention Center.
Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore), Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) and Rep. Tommy Hardin (R-Madill) will also speak about upcoming studies in addition to the highlights from this past session.
"I'm sure worker's comp. reform will headline what we accomplished this past session as well as the income tax reduction," Ownbey said.
Ownbey said Medicare reform would also be discussed, and expected both Simpson and Hardin to talk about legislation aimed at improving conditions with the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs.
It is during this part of the year that the foundation for upcoming legislation is formed through studies in both the House and Senate. Ownbey is seeking studies about foster care/foster parenting and storm shelters.
The first study will be opened up to foster parents, Ownbey said. One situation that will be looked at is a requirement that birth parents of foster children be contacted to gain permission for medical care. The shelter study will explore the shelters in schools and will look at what other state are doing.
"We will also look at what Oklahoma might be inclined to do to keep our kids safe," Ownbey said.
Hardin has also submitted two studies. One will look at the constitutionality of campaign literature, and the other will examine classified and unclassified workers at the ODVA. Ownbey said studies are still open to approval.
Simpson has three proposed studies to headline, two of which focus on the ODVA. One study will be designed to expand eligibility for entry to the state's veterans centers to include all veterans. Simpson also wants to evaluate staffing at the ODVA centers as well as the qualifications, structure and duties of the War Veterans Commission.
"I am going to continue studies into the Department of Veterans Affairs," Simpson said. "I will focus on staffing and things we can do to prevent turnover. We will look at the pay scale to see what we can do to make it more attractive."
Simpson said the structure of the War Veterans Commissions will be studied in conjunction with a review of the State Auditor's Report on the ODVA.
"We will look at recommendations and if we need to incorporate them into the system," Simpson said.
Simpson said he will also meet with the Oklahoma Veterans Council in the upcoming month to get its thoughts and ideas regarding the studies.
Those wishing to reserve a box lunch for $10 have until 3 p.m. today to contact Jennifer Crosby at email@example.com or call (580) 223-7765.