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Lincoln to Local: Taxes and new revenue
Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s LeeAnna McNally shares an update from this week at the state Capitol including ad valorem tax increase bills, Gov. Mary Fallin’s tax considerations and water as a potential source of new revenue for the state.
TOP HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
Under Pruitt, change in course is ahead for EPA:
What Pruitt’s arrival will mean is a return of the EPA to its proper role of enforcing the nation’s environmental laws, instead of creating them as happened often during the Obama administration [The Oklahoman].
Trump to rollback Obama’s climate, water rules through executive action:
A second order will instruct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to revamp a 2015 rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule, that applies to 60 percent of the water bodies in the country [Washington Post].
Oklahoma faces $878 million shortfall for upcoming year, revenue failure declared:
Collections to the state’s general fund fell well short of projections. That means finance officials will order across-the-board cuts to all state agencies, including public schools [KFOR].
Oklahoma’s rural schools feel especially challenged by budget pinch:
In many of the state’s rural public schools, where one third of Oklahoma’s students attend, the funding struggles create unique challenges and a sense of isolation [The Oklahoman].
To keep future droughts at bay, Oklahoma looks to store water underground before it flows away:
When lots of rain falls, the porous ponds would speed water back down into the aquifer much faster than it takes to soak through the ground on its own. It’s a lot better than watching storm-flow rush down the rivers — and out of Oklahoma [StateImpact Oklahoma].
Fallin picks Mike Hunter to be attorney general:
Hunter was the first assistant attorney general under Pruitt between June 2015 and October 2016. He left the AG’s office when Fallin selected him to be secretary of state [KGOU].
Bill would ban drones over ag operations:
Murdock introduced House Bill 1326, which would ban drones from any land used for agriculture, hunting, fishing or forestry [Journal Record].
BILLS WE’RE WATCHING
HB1156 by Rep. Scott Biggs:
Exempts 100 percent of of taxable income from a person, for five years, who moves from any other state or jurisdiction and becomes a resident of a county which is projected to have a decline in population from Nov. 1, 2017 until Dec. 31, 2075 as identified in a 2012 Department of Commerce demographic report.
HB1374 by Rep. Weldon Watson:
Allows municipalities to create Public Safety Protection Districts; explains ballot procedures and vote requirements; defines the ad valorum procedure within such a district.
HB1388 by Rep. John Pfeiffer:
Modifies date of operation provisions in regards to determining timeliness for a nuisance action to be brought against agricultural activities on farm or ranch land; adds the term “malicious” to those frivolous nuisance suits that qualify a defendant to recovery of attorneys fees.
HB2272 by Rep. Terry O’Donnell:
Puts a $7,000,000 cap on tax credits for FY17 zero emission facilities.
SB345 by Sen. David Holt:
Creates the Oklahoma Public Safety Protection District Act; allows municipalities to create protection districts which may levy assessments on property to support the district to assist with public safety expenses; creates provisions governing elections, assessments and dissolution of districts.
SB514 by Rep. Gary Stanislawski and Sen. Kyle Loveless:
Directs the State Department of Education to publish a list of all dependent and independent school districts that consolidate or annex; requires certain school districts to submit petitions for voluntary consolidation or annexation; providing board membership until a certain election that are to be held on certain dates; specifies term limits for board members; emergency.
Meet the Legislator: Senate Majority Leader Greg Treat
Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat of Oklahoma City discusses his priorities for the 2017 legislative session including his proposed bill to allow the state to consider selling the Grand River Dam Authority.
March 2: Deadline for reporting bills and joint resolutions from House and Senate committees
March 6-7: OKFB Legislative Leadership Conference
March 17: Ottawa County Farm Bureau Legislative Dinner
March 23: Greer, Jackson, Kiowa, Washita County Farm Bureaus Legislative Dinner