State Sen. Tom Dugger said he’s looking forward to the upcoming legislative session. The Stillwater Republican said his first official votes will come during the Senate’s organizational day on January 3, 2017, when members officially elect their leadership for the next two years and adopt rules for conducting legislative business.
“After the organizational day, we don’t meet as a body again until February. The first day we’ll convene briefly, then reconvene in joint session in the House Chamber to hear Governor Fallin’s State of the State Address where she unveils her budget and policy priorities for the session,” Dugger said. “But after that, the attention shifts the committee phase of the legislative process. I’ll be serving on five different committees, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Dugger was appointed to serve on the full Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance, the Education Committee and the Committee on Public Safety.
Dugger said he and other members have been working with Senate staff to draft and file proposed legislation by the January 19 filing deadline. Once the session begins in February, members have just six weeks for bills introduced in Senate to be considered and voted on by committee then by the full chamber. After that, the legislation that survives both the committee process and a floor vote will be sent to the opposite chamber to go through additional committee and floor votes.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us—we all have literally hundreds of bills to read and research before we cast our votes in committee. At the same time, the various appropriations subcommittees will be holding budget hearings with all our state agencies,” Dugger said. “We already know we’ll be facing a significant shortfall for the 2018 fiscal budget. It’s going to be a challenging year, but I’m looking forward to working with my fellow members to find solutions and enact policies that will get our state moving forward,” Dugger said.