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Column, Keeping up with House District 36

Bison Blinds

By Rep. John George

Rep. John George, photo provided

Rep. John George, a Republican, serves District 36 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Cleveland and Oklahoma counties. Please feel free to reach out with any thoughts or concerns on legislation. I can be reached at (405) 557-7322 or at john.george@okhouse.gov.

Feb. 23, 2023
House Announces Education Plan

The Republican House members announced their education plan, focusing on a policy that works for every student, every parent and every teacher in our state.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, authored House Bill 2775 and House Bill 1935. The House’s education plan provides less government intrusion into local districts and Oklahomans’ personal lives and finances.

The education plan comes in two parts: first, a $500 million funding increase for public schools, and second, the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act.

House Bill 2775, the proposal for $500 million in increased funding for public schools, is broken down into three parts:

1.       Public schools would have $150 million in financial support to increase teacher salaries by $2,500 regardless of their current pay. The pay raise includes Teachers in the Department of Rehabilitation Services, Career Tech, Office of Juvenile Affairs and Department of Corrections.

2.       $50 million would be distributed proportionally through a formula that addresses funding disparities for public school districts that receive below-average funding from annual local tax revenue.

3.       $300 million would be distributed to the public school district on a per-pupil basis, capped at $2 million per district.  

The bill outlines how the appropriated monies can be spent, including on teacher and support staff raises, STEM programs, instructional materials, fees for nationally standardized assessments, summer education programs, after-school programs, student support services, or tuition and fees for concurrent enrollment.

School districts in House District 36 would receive the following additional funding under the proposed education plan: 

  • Choctaw: $3,526,030.12
  • Harrah: $2,105,547.81
  • Jones: $1,308,525.60
  • Luther: $628,868.70

House Bill 1935 proposes the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act, a logical, comprehensive approach to supporting parental choice that will work in every part of our start. The plan includes a $5,000 credit per private school student and a $2,500 credit per student educated by other means.

To claim the credit, the taxpayer’s child cannot be a full-time student in a public school district, public charter school, public virtual charter school, or magnet school. The taxpayer must retain all receipts of private school tuition and fees or qualified expenses as proof of the amounts paid each tax year the credit is claimed.

The measure also states that the Oklahoma Tax Commission will create a form to allow taxpayers to request that the credit amount be advanced to the taxpayer in two installments of $2,500, one per semester, to help families who can’t afford private school without the credit.

On February 22, the House approved the two-part education plan. I applaud House Education Committee Chair, Rep. Rhonda Baker, for presenting both bills on the floor. Now, HB2775 and HB1935 are eligible to be heard in the Senate.

Since 2018, Oklahoma’s education funding has increased by 52 percent, and the average teacher salary has increased by 24 percent. Every child deserves the opportunity to excel in the classroom. House Republicans will continue working to help Oklahoma kids thrive. This is an “Every Kid Wins” policy and funding plan.


Feb. 17, 2023
Legislative Update

The second week of session has officially wrapped up. It was an exciting and productive week!

Besides my four regular committees, Speaker McCall, R-Atoka, appointed me to serve on the Human Services and Public Safety Committee for the Council of State Governments.

The Council of State Governments Southern Office (CSG South) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization serving the southern legislatures. Its mission is to promote and strengthen intergovernmental cooperation among its member states.

The Human Services and Public Safety Committee assesses pressing health issues, including the national opioid crisis, organ donations, long-term care, aging inmate populations, female offenders and mental health parity in prisons.

This is a one-year term ending on December 31, 2023.

Next, I want to briefly discuss the four caucuses that I am a part of, which are the Republican, Veterans, Rural, and Sportsmen caucuses.

The Oklahoma House Republican Caucus is comprised of all Republican members serving in the largest chamber of the Oklahoma Legislature. The caucus works together to set group priorities and advocate for policies to improve all Oklahomans’ lives and economic outlooks.

For the 59th Legislature, the caucus is chaired by Rep. Stan May. Reps. Danny Williams and Sherrie Conley serve as vice chair and secretary, respectively.

We authored 1,725 measures in 2023.

I am also a part of the bipartisan and bicameral Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, which Rep. Wallace, R-Wellston, chairs.

The Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus’s mission includes protecting and advancing the rights of Oklahoma’s citizens to hunt, fish, and pursue other traditional outdoor activities. It also supports efforts to enhance fish and wildlife habits.

In addition, I am a part of the Oklahoma Capitol Veterans Caucus, which Rep. Steagall, R-Yukon, chairs. This caucus aims to guarantee that the issues veterans face are kept front and center of the state’s legislative agenda.

Last, I am a member of the Rural Caucus, which Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh, chairs. The Rural Caucus focuses on rural Oklahoma and agriculture, proposed legislation that would affect rural Oklahomans, and hearing presentations from various organizations, state agencies, state educational institutions, and other groups directly impacting rural Oklahoma.

The caucus also tries to involve as many urban and suburban legislators as possible to provide them with a better understanding of the issues that directly impact rural Oklahoma.

I look forward to working with my fellow legislators this session to accomplish great things for ‎the State of Oklahoma! ‎Again, thank you for electing me to serve District 36.


Feb.10, 2023
Session Has Officially Started

Gov. Stitt delivered his annual State of the State address Monday, February 6, officially starting the first session of the 59th Legislature. He presented his plans for the legislative session focusing on advancing education, improving our economy and promoting freedom for all Oklahomans.

Gov. Stitt proposed strategic initiatives for his executive budget to advance Oklahoma’s education system. The governor additionally outlined his plan to protect Oklahomans through prioritizing highway safety, funding law enforcement and engaging in meaningful criminal justice reform.

The budget proposal includes almost $655.7 million worth of tax cuts and $400 million in new money for education. However, with this said, it is for the Legislature to consider and determine.

We will spend the next four months moving bills through the legislative process and finalizing the state budget for the Fiscal Year 2024.

Representatives and state senators filed 3,079 bills and joint resolutions.

A joint resolution is similar to a bill but is mainly used as legislative referenda placed on statewide ballots. These are typically constitutional amendments submitted for the people to vote on, but sometimes legislators will send a proposed change in statute to the ballot voluntarily.  

Once bills are first and second read in their chamber of origin, which happens the first week of session, they can be assigned to committees.

This year the House has 29 regular standing committees and 10 Appropriation and Budget subcommittees.

I will serve as the vice chair of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Public Safety committee during the 59th Legislature. I am also serving on the Tourism Committee, Judiciary Criminal Committee and the A&B Public Safety Subcommittee. 

Committees must approve each bill before it can be heard on the House floor. Once a bill moves to the House floor, the entire chamber will vote on them. In March, we will send our ‎approved House bills to the Senate and then begin considering Senate bills. ‎

Once it passes in both chambers, it is sent to the governor. If the governor signs a bill, it becomes ‎‎state law. If the governor vetoes a bill, it ‎does not become ‎state law unless the Legislature ‎‎overrides the veto.‎ A two-thirds vote is needed in each house to ‎override a veto. ‎

The Legislature must adjourn by Friday, May 26.

I look forward to working with my fellow legislators this session to accomplish great things for ‎the State of Oklahoma! ‎Again, thank you for electing me to serve District 36.

Rep. John George, a Republican, serves District 36 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Cleveland and Oklahoma counties. Please feel free to reach out with any thoughts or concerns on legislation. I can be reached at (405) 557-7322 or at john.george@okhouse.gov.


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