OKLAHOMA CITY –Sen. Roland Pederson joined Gov. Kevin Stitt for the ceremonial signing of two important measures for rural Oklahoma.
Senate Bill 164 will allow a fire protection district board of directors to increase from 7 or 9 members to ensure better geographic and population representation. The board of directors can also be increased by petition. Members’ terms will be staggered so that no more than two expire in a year.
The bill requires a fire protection district with more than two full-time firefighters to have a full-time fire chief to supervise and administer the district. It allows the board of directors to annex territory adjacent to the existing district but in another county. It must be certified to both counties’ boards of county commissioners and have written consent of 25% of property owners. A landowner with property in the response area of the district but not within the district itself could opt into the district by paying the assessment and would then become a member with full voting rights.
If a municipality wishes to annex a portion or all of a fire protection district, the delivery of fire protection services must meet or exceed levels and standards as provided by the fire protection district and requires a majority vote of fire protection district members.
“Senate Bill 164 was an important bill to help our rural fire departments be better able to serve their local communities and citizens. It provides more flexibility to fire protection districts and their boards to make decisions regarding representation and annexation,” said Pederson, R-Burlington.
SB 543 modifies the definition of “feral swine” to include any domestic or wild animal of the species Sus scrofa, free roaming or captive.
“Feral swine are a tremendous problem in rural Oklahoma causing millions of dollars in damage to crops and livestock on farms and ranches each year,” said Pederson. “As part of the continued effort to control the species, it was important that the definition be updated to also include previously captive, domesticated animals. Once released in the wild, these creatures become just as destructive and dangerous as their wild counterparts, and landowners should have the right to get rid of these nuisances as well.”
Both bills will become law November 1, 2019.
A ceremonial bill signing was recently held at the Capitol for SB 164, assisting rural fire districts. Pictured from left to right are Sen. Roland Pederson, Tim Bartram, Special Projects Coordinator for the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association (OSFA), Steve Lumry, Executive Director, Sheri Nickel, Administrative Director, Rep. Gary Mize, Don Armes, lobbyist, and Gov. Kevin Stitt, seated.
A ceremonial bill signing was also held for SB 543, updating the statutory definition of “feral swine.” Pictured from left to right are Sen. Roland Pederson, Teena Gunter, Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture, JanLee Rowlett, Agriculture Department, Jeramy Rich, lobbyist, Dale Toon, Wild Boar Ridge Hunting Ranch owner, Michelle Sutton, lobbyist, Kane Webb, rancher, Bryan Rickman, heritage hog rancher, and Gov. Kevin Stitt, seated.