By Sen. JOSEPH SILK
This 11th week of session has been busy as we’re moving into the home stretch before we adjourn in late May. On Tuesday, Senators joined House members in a joint session to honor the 45th Infantry Division.
It was an honor to recognize these heroes as we reflected on the sacrifice and courage exemplified by those who have served.
Even though the House struck it down last week, I hope the total truth behind Senate Bill 647 – the “Tourism Tax” legislation – will be considered. The fact is that my amendments merely made the existing statute more flexible to allow for certain businesses to be excluded.
We are now still stuck with a 37-year old liberal statute that calls for the assessment to include all businesses, which was my intent to change.
As I’ve discussed in previous weeks, I have also been actively fighting House Bill 1828, which is the bill that would mandate all those who build, remodel or do any type of construction be registered with the Construction Industries Board.
Additionally, HB 1828 would require any work to meet rigid requirements and regulations, including being subject to fines for non-compliance and completing mandatory continuing education.
This legislation comes saddled with many burdensome regulations on most builders, contractors, and even folks who remodel homes. I anticipate this bill will negatively impact thousands of people across the state and I have been working diligently for three weeks to find a way to stop it.
Over-regulating small businesses and self-employed citizens should not be a role of state government, and I’m disappointed to report that HB 1828 passed the House with little opposition this week.
One final thought for this week is to note the astounding difference between the way rural and urban legislators think, and there are big differences between what rural Oklahoma needs and what the metropolitan areas of the state need.
I have made it my goal to consistently find ways to educate the urban legislators of the importance of rural Oklahoma to ensure that our voice is not ignored.
I welcome your questions and concerns, so please feel free to contact my office at the State Capitol if you would like to discuss a particular issue or problem. Our office can be reached by phone at 405.521.5614 or by email at [email protected].
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