by Representative Kevin Wallace, Oklahoma House District 32
The House recently wrapped up its first four weeks of session. Feb. 27 was the deadline for all bills to be passed out of a regular committee in order to be eligible to be considered by the entire House.
It’s been a busy four weeks, with hundreds of bills considered in various House committees and a few that have already passed in the House. We heard more than 40 bills this past week in the House Appropriations & Budget Committee. The speaker and I, as the budget chair, can propose bills at any time. Bills filed by other members that did not pass in committee or that were not heard by the deadline are dead.
In total, we passed 469 House Bills, one House Joint Resolution and one Senate Bill in committee. We’ve passed 26 House Bills or House Joint Resolutions and two House Concurrent Resolutions in the House so far and concurred on Senate amendments on one bill from last year.
We now have until March 12 to hear House bills filed this year before they pass to the Senate. After that date, we will begin hearing the remainder of the Senate bills.
There was some hope this week that we might have a bill to advance on the governor’s SoonerCare 2.0 health care plan that would expand Medicaid to adults who make less than 138% of the federal poverty limit. We are still working with the Senate and the governor on this and are hoping to be able to roll out a plan soon.
The third-reading deadline for hearing bills in their chamber of origin is Thursday, March 12, so the next two weeks will be very busy as we hear the many bills that have passed out of committee. We will start session earlier during this time and may go late into the evening a few nights in order to get all the bills through this part of the process.
Kevin Wallace is the state representative for House District 32, which includes all of Lincoln County and a small portion of Logan County. He is the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and also serves on the house Natural Resources and Wildlife Committees. A lifelong Lincoln County native and Wellston High School graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1993. Kevin founded American Cellular Service and Dynatek Development Services, which he sold in 2000. That same year he founded SWT Construction, where he continues to serve as a manager. He also owns an equipment rental company and a small investment firm. Kevin is co-owner of The Wilderness Refuge, a hunting reserve, and Wallahachie L.L.C., a whitetail deer and cattle breeding operation. He is an active member of First Baptist Church of Wellston.