OPINION

House votes on important education bills

Rep. Ken Luttrell

Last week was the fourth week of the 2021 session and we saw multiple pieces of legislation transferring committees, moving through committees and being heard on the House floor. For my update, I wanted to highlight a few of the bills that passed on the House floor. The highlights were historic education reform bills, and legislation asserting our state's rights.

On the education front, bills dealing with open transfer and the school funding formula passed the House.

House Bill 2074 would create the Education Open Transfer Act. The measure allows a student to transfer from one school district to another at any time during the year, unless the grade level at the receiving school is already at capacity. It empowers students and their parents to have more of a say when it comes to determining their educational futures. A child’s educational success or failure shouldn’t be determined because of their ZIP code. The bill passed, 77-22.

HB 2078 deals with the school funding formula. Under this bill, school districts would use student counts from the immediate preceding year, and growing districts could use current-year counts for the mid-year adjustment if they choose. It also would give districts greater flexibility in the amount of money they are allowed to carry forward from one fiscal year to the next. This allows districts to continue hiring teachers and staff to meet student needs, but cuts down on paying for students no longer on the rolls. It’s a historic change to the funding formula and will lead to more money being allocated to each student. The vote count was 68-30.

Both of these bills are now eligible to be heard by the Senate.

HB 1236 creates a new law stating that the Oklahoma Legislature may review any federal executive order, federal agency rule or federal legislative action to determine constitutionality. Upon recommendation from the Legislature, the attorney general will review the action to determine constitutionality. Additionally, a publicly funded organization shall not implement any action that restricts a person’s rights or is deemed unconstitutional. This piece of legislation passed 79-18 and is now eligible to be heard by the Senate.

House Resolution 1005 is a resolution asserting Oklahoma’s sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It provides guidelines for federal government agencies and agents that operate within, or whose actions have an effect on, Oklahoma and its citizens. It passed by a vote of 80-14. It will be distributed to the President of the United States, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.

That’s it for this week, but stay tuned for my next update. Thank you for your continued support.

If I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at 405-557-7355 or email me at ken.luttrell@okhouse.gov.