Oklahoma Legislators file 1,625 new bills and 73 joint resolutions to consider in 2016 session
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Published: 28-Jan-2016

OKLAHOMA CITY – With the Monday (February 1) start for the second session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature nearing, members of House and Senate are preparing to pore through hundreds of bills and scores of joint resolutions.
When filing concluded last week on Thursday (January 21) there were 921 bills and 31 joint resolutions filed in the House of Representatives.
“House members have been diligent during the interim studying issues and meeting with constituents, and now many of those ideas they have developed have been filed as legislation and are ready to be considered and debated,” said House Speaker Jeffrey W. Hickman, R-Fairview.
“Just like Oklahoma families and businesses do every day, legislators will be making tough decisions about priorities and sorting through wants and needs. I know our members are prepared for the hard work we were sent here to do.”
Last year, the Clerk of the House reported that 1,219 bills and 26 joint resolutions were filed at the deadline in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for the 2015 legislative session.
In the state Senate, 704 bills and 42 Joint Resolutions were filed. A total of 636 Senate Bills and 31 Senate Joint Resolutions carried over from the 2015 session.
Rules approved last year ended the practice of filing shell bills –legislation without final language that could be used as a vehicle for new law or modifying existing law after the session was underway.
The new rules allow for substantive legislation to be introduced after the filing deadline. The floor leader must assign the bill to committee, but at that point, the entire committee becomes the published author of the bill.
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, praised Senate staffers for their professionalism as the deadline approached, despite unusual circumstances. Senate staff offices on the third floor were part of the first phase of the historic renovation and restoration of the Capitol building.
During the interim the various staff divisions were located in committee rooms and other available spaces in the building with the goal of having everyone back in their offices on the third floor before session began. Staffers moved back to the third floor during the final days of bill filing.
"Our staff is always extremely dedicated and professional, even with the intense workload that comes with the approach of the bill filing deadline," said Bingman. "Despite the massive move that has been underway in the last few days, that dedication and professionalism continued to be the standard as staff diligently worked with our members to complete the bill filing process. As always, we are extremely grateful and appreciative of their efforts."
Members of the public can read and download legislation by going to the official State Senate website at www.oksenate.gov and following the link for legislation at the top of the homepage. The Senate website also includes daily agendas, meeting notices, calendars, and other helpful information.

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