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OPINION

There's a lot to vote on besides the presidential race

Sen. Bill Coleman

October is going to be a busy month for the Legislature, as all the interim studies have to be wrapped up by the end of the month.

The Health and Human Services Committee is my only one that’s had any meetings so far.

We were updated on the hotline reporting for various state agencies and advocacy groups around the state. The purpose was to find out how agencies and groups might share information and services.

The other study focused on tribal health and Medicaid managed care. Speakers shared how the state can avoid leaving federal money on the table in managed care contracting.

We’ll have two or three more studies in this committee. All the information about the studies can be found on the Oklahoma Senate website.

Besides having our regular standing committees, we have others that the Pro Tem appoints us to. Like this year, there is one to look at changing any Senate, Joint or Caucus rules and I’m on it. Being that the upcoming session will be the 1st Session of the 58th Legislature, we’re starting with a new slate. We recently had our first meeting and will most likely meet again at least a few more times before the end of the year to see what, if any, rules we want to propose changes to.

Besides meetings in the Capitol, I’ve already had several around the district as well as events. I attended the Pioneer Days Celebration in Skiatook last weekend. It was great seeing constituents from eastern Osage County.

On Sept. 23, I met with Brent Kisling, the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, in Pawhuska. We talked with the general manager of the Pioneer Woman Mercantile about how COVID-19 has affected their business and how the state has helped in the recovery.

We can start filing bills on Sunday, Nov. 15. I’m looking at what legislation I want to run next session, including my bills that were tabled last session due to COVID-19. I am your voice in the legislative process, so please let me know of any questions or concerns you have about current laws or issues as well as ideas for possible future legislation. We have to work together.

In closing, I want to mention some important deadlines coming up this week. If you want to vote in the November elections, you need to register to vote by Friday, Oct. 9, on the State Election Board website (www.ok.gov/elections). If you’d like to utilize absentee voting, you must request your absentee ballot by Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 5 p.m.

There are many more important things to vote on than just the presidential race. We also have the state corporation commissioner, congressional seats, judicial seats and two state questions (SQ 805 and 814). This is your government, so be sure to let your voice be heard and practice one of our greatest freedoms by voting next month.

You can contact me by calling 1-405-521-5581 or emailing Bill.Coleman@oksenate.gov.