A comprehensive review of the past legislative session as discussion over future goals were highlighted at the legislative luncheon Friday.
The luncheon, hosted by the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, was the final one this year. Reps. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore), Tommy Hardin (R-Madill) and Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) each took their turn addressing those in attendance.
Ownbey said the significant accomplishments during the session were workers' compensation and lowering the state income tax rate. He also said there were other issues that were not addressed.
"There were some things I was disappointed that we didn't get done including highway patrol and teacher raises," Ownbey said.
He added he expects progress in that area next session because it will take place in an election year.
In terms of workers' comp, Ownbey said he expects additional changes to the system as tweaks will be needed for a system that is being overhauled. The state income tax reduction, which will drop from 5.25 to 5 percent in a year, will first need to survive a challenge in court.
Health care issues also continue to hang over the head of the legislature and there is speculation they could be called into a special session.
Hardin expressed a level of high disappointment with the past legislative session, noting the politics played behind the scenes to get a bill heard. He said he personally carried nine bills that were signed into legislation which included a law that will allow bullying to be considered when making an emergency transfer from one school system to another.
Simpson discussed the impact of the Moore tornado to begin his remarks, praising the spirit of Oklahomans.
"Two or three says after a major event, like Hurricane Rita, people are whining about when the Federal Government will come in. To their credit,, the people of Moore have not," Simpson said. "Oklahomans are a self-sufficient people. They would rather Federal Government stay out of the way so we can get things done."
Simpson discussed the destruction of the tornado, and talked about a neighborhood that had been flattened in which someone has already begun construction of a new house. In other remarks, Simpson discussed legislation regarding the ODVA and the need for a comprehensive water policy.