OKLAHOMA CITY – The first regular session of the 58th Legislature adjourned Sine Die on Thursday with Senate leaders calling it a big success overall for Oklahoma.
“What a difference a year makes! We prioritized and invested in public education, we delivered tax relief for families and businesses, made significant investments in economic diversification efforts, and managed to put more than $800 million toward the state’s savings. Additionally, we passed pro-life measures to protect life at all stages, increased access to quality health care for Oklahomans, and found ways to modernize government in different areas. It has been a tremendous session and positions Oklahoma for continued growth and success as we emerge from the global pandemic,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
“I think this has been one of the most successful sessions in my legislative career,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Kim David, R-Porter. “Senate Republicans enacted common-sense, conservative policies to protect and expand the rights of our citizens, and we passed meaningful education reforms that will benefit students and families across Oklahoma. I’m proud of how the Senate led the way in successfully navigating session through pandemic protocols.”
“This year, the budget has money for new behavioral health services for Oklahoma children struggling with mental health issues. The budget adds more than $210 million in additional money to classrooms throughout Oklahoma. We are making serious investments to expand high-speed internet access across the state. When we look at the budget, oftentimes we focus on the numbers. But we should not lose sight of the real-world impact the budget has on Oklahoma families. This year’s budget is great for Oklahoma families and puts our state on the path for continued growth,” said Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
2021 Legislative Highlights
- Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, which cut taxes, saved $800 million, and included $210 million in additional funding for public education.
- Reducing the personal income tax rate to 4.75 percent from 5 percent
- Reducing the corporate income tax rate to 4 percent from 6 percent
- Increasing the Equal Opportunity Scholarship program caps to $50 million ($25 million for public schools/$25 million for private schools) (SB 1080, Treat)
- More than $15.5 million for rural infrastructure projects
- $9.9 million for the creation of a children’s mental health unit at OU Health.
- $10 million in funding for the Attorney General’s Office to fight federal overreach (HB 1236, Treat), represent the state in legal issues related to McGirt, and investigate and monitor land purchases in Oklahoma by foreign nationals.
- $30 million for a film tax incentive to spur more projects and investment.
- $42 million in incentives for the expansion of broadband service in underserved and unserved areas statewide.
- $35 million in economic development funding to recruit new jobs.
- Restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit refundability, which provides tax relief to low- and moderate-income working families.
- Renewal of the Open Meeting Act pandemic exemptions (SB 1031, Treat)
- Gave parents the ability to seek the right educational opportunity for their student by updating the Education Open Transfer Act (SB 783, Pugh)
- Ensured education dollars follow the student and gave schools more flexibility in using carryover funding (HB 2078, Taylor).
- Modernized and reformed the state’s civil service system (HB 1146, Treat)
- Protected the sanctity of life through pro-life reforms
- Restoring Oklahoma’s prohibition on abortion if Roe v Wade is overturned (SB 918, Treat)
- Adding performance of an abortion under state statutes for “unprofessional conduct,” with exceptions for the life or significant physical impairment of the mother. (HB 1102, Daniels)
- Requiring abortionists to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology (HB 1904, Garvin)
- Prohibiting an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, (HB 2441, Daniels)
- Providing safeguards surrounding the use of abortion-inducing drugs, (SB 778 and SB 779, Daniels).
- Made Oklahoma a Second Amendment Sanctuary State (SB 631, Hamilton)
- Updated the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act to ensure religious institutions cannot be deemed “non-essential.” (SB 368/HB 2648 Bullard)
- Prohibited the teaching of critical race theory in Oklahoma schools (HB 1775, Bullard)
- Protected Oklahoma ratepayers by securitizing $4.5 billion in unexpected utility bills after the February winter storm. (SB 1049, SB 1050, Thompson)
- Provided a long-term funding solution for provider rates by incrementally increasing the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program (SHOPP)
- Passed a Senate redistricting plan with strong bipartisan support that incorporated input solicited from the public during an open and transparent redistricting process.
- Stabilized increasing Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funds to protect providers during future potential decreases in federal assistance.