Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, will step into a new role when the state senate reconvenes in February.
Simpson will serve as a Majority Assistant Floor Leader, a step up in responsibility for the Majority Whip, which he served as for the last four years. He’ll be assisting Floor Leader Kim David and working with freshman senators.
“The responsibility of the floor leaders is to conduct business on the senate floor,” Simpson said. “Make sure legislation flows efficiently, make sure that our colleagues understand the implications or impact of pieces of legislation.”
He’ll also help train freshman senators, newcomers to the senate who may have questions or need help.
“It’s just to make their transition into the senate a little smoother,” Simpson said. “The last three election cycles, we’ve averaged anywhere from eight to 12 freshman senators.”
Simpson said Sen. Greg Treat, the current President Pro Tempore, asked him serve on the Health and Human Services Committee as well as chair that committee’s Appropriations Subcommittee.  
“We merged those into one this year to handle both health and human services,” Simpson said. “He asked me to, since it had grown, and I’m one of the more experienced members in the senate.”
Simpson said the committee represents about 50 percent of the entire state budget.
“I enjoy a challenge, and the thing that I like about it is that it gives me the chance to work in an area now where our impact will be on those who need it most, the most vulnerable among us: Children, the elderly, the disabled.”
Simpson said the overlap between the two was significant and the new approach should be more efficient.
“On one side, you’d have the Oklahoma Heath Care Authority, on the other you’d have (Department of Human Services),” Simpson said. “Having those in separate committees, we found, was cumbersome because there’s a lot of cooperation between those two agencies and others.”
He said the new subcommittee also has three more members, to help with the increased workload.
Simpson will also serve on the Rules Committee, the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, the Finance Committee and the Appropriations Committee. He said he’s had experience in all except the finance committee.
“Finance looks at the incoming revenue and generating revenue and Appropriations looks at the revenue and appropriates that revenue to state agencies,” Simpson said. “Finance is the money we’re bringing in, and Appropriations is where we’re spending it.”
Simpson said the outlook for the upcoming session is significantly more optimistic than it was in the past.
“The encouraging thing is that the revenue picture is so much better than it’s been for the past three years,” Simpson said. “This is going to be a session where we’re maybe going to be able to increase some funding to areas of the state that we’d had to cut.”