2020 Legislative Priorities

The Chamber has a long history of promoting a sound business climate that allows Oklahoma companies to compete globally with other businesses.  The Chamber will represent the interests of sound policy that allows businesses to compete globally, to hire more workers, and expand in southern Oklahoma.

Key Legislative Principles:

Economic Development

-  Support a state budgeting process that is transparent, includes best practices for agency operations, spending commitments and pension obligations and can be responsive to Oklahoma’s economy

-  Protect valuable economic development incentives that create and maintain jobs and encourage investment in Oklahoma, support existing industry and keep Oklahoma competitive

- Support policies and structures that provide greater oversight on state agencies

-  Support reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Small Employer Quality Jobs, the 21st Century Quality Jobs and the Quality Jobs Act

-  Support economic development incentives that create and maintain jobs and investments in Oklahoma including the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts and Business Improvement Districts (BID)

- Encourage the revitalization of rural Oklahoma, including efforts to meet housing demand to keep pace with economic development and workforce needs

- As part of an all-inclusive energy approach, support a stable and reliable tax structure for all energy development that protects existing investment and promotes new capital investment in Oklahoma

-  Support policies that will grow and support our technology and knowledge-based industries

- Support tax reform/policies that at both the local and state level, stimulates business and encourages small business growth

- Oppose efforts to conform Oklahoma state tax laws in order to preserve tax savings from changes to federal tax law contained in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017.

- Support the continuation and make permanent the Native American Tax Incentives in the federal tax code.

- Support funding for the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission and Oklahoma Military Department and other efforts to protect, expand, and enhance military related economic activity and investment at Oklahoma’s military installations including active duty, Oklahoma National Guard and Reserve components.

- Support long-term reauthorization of the export-Import Bank

Manufacturing

- Support tax incentives, credits and other benefits that foster growth opportunities for Oklahoma’s manufacturing ecosystem and small businesses.

- Preserve and defend Oklahoma’s Right to Work laws, Workers’ Compensation reforms and Occupational Licensing reforms

- Advocate for legislation that supports manufacturers, the Alliance for Manufacturing, and other support agencies.

Aviation & Aerospace

- Protect designated aviation user fees from being used for non-aviation needs and purposes

- Support educational preparation and training pipeline initiatives to; encourage Oklahomans to pursue STEM careers including careers in aerospace and technology.

- Support, enhance and defend continuance of the Aerospace Engineer, Cyber Security and Software Engineer Tax Credits.

- Support the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program and protect the FAA Federal Contract Tower Program

Energy

- Development of an inclusive energy approach that will support a stable and reliable tax structure for all energy development that protects existing investment and promotes new capital investment in Oklahoma.             

- Support Oklahoma’s current oil and natural gas pooling laws to protect the development of mineral owners, the state budget and economic development.

- Support efforts to expand energy infrastructure capacity

- Ensure a predictable and reliable state tax policy for continued exploration, production and refinement of Oklahoma oil and natural gas, while also supporting policies that encourage greater development and new capital investment in our state

- Support the development of alternative energy resources to complement the use and development of oil and natural gas

- Oppose unnecessary legislative or regulatory intrusion into the energy industry

 Workforce Development & Education

        K-12

- Foster Innovation in Oklahoma’s Education System

- Reform the school funding formula to make it more transparent, student-centered and as much as possible, allows funding to follow the student.

- Protect accountability systems, like the A-F School Site Report Cards, and the Reading Sufficiency Act to ensure school sites have strong metrics for measurement of growth and improvement

- Support educational and training pipeline initiatives, including Career Pathways, education industry partnerships and the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Communities, to encourage Oklahomans to pursue STEM careers

- Support a restructuring of the salary schedule to incentivize Oklahoma’s teachers to remain in the profession, performance pay that rewards our best teachers, and a differentiated pay plan that helps fill high-need areas. This includes modify/eliminate the minimum salary schedule to allow districts flexibility in teacher pay

- Expand access and funding to programs that expedite credential attainment, Advanced Placement programs and concurrent enrollment for high school students

         Post-Secondary – Workforce

- Create incentives for hiring more STEM and critical occupation related educators in postsecondary education to meet workforce needs and to be comparable with the private sector.

- Support funding for Oklahoma’s career technology and higher education campuses to ensure affordable tuition for our citizens and encourage the growth of jobs and our economy, including the continued funding of Oklahoma’s Promise

- Increase access to industry endorsed skills certificates and degree programs tied to high demand areas of Oklahoma’s economy and support incentives for employers providing access to skills certificates for employees

- Support initiatives that encourage businesses to participate in career pathways or career exploration programs that are specific to the current and future needs of Oklahoma’s economy.

- Promote collaboration among educational entities and the private sector to strengthen the state’s workforce pipeline to meet the needs of current and future jobs in critical occupations by aligning their courses and curricula with industry-identified needs and skills.

- Support strategies that address job training, placement and stability for justice involved individuals and incentivize second-chance employers.

- Support expansion of Federal Pell Grant opportunities to appl toward all technology programs and qualified skilled technical workforce certificates.

 Legal, Human Resource & Workers Comp Reform

- Support efforts to further criminal justice reform to improve workforce, protect public safety, while decreasing costs within the state’s budget

- Support and advocate for business -friendly protections and property owners’ rights under the Oklahoma medical marijuana laws.

- Support pro-business lawsuit reforms, reforms to Oklahoma’s product liability laws, and push back against legislation that would expand liability.

- Work to enhance and protect the 2013 reforms to the Workers’ Compensation System enacted by Senate Bill 1062.

- Ensure workers’ compensation generated funds are used solely within the Workers’ Compensation system.

- Support efforts to reform Oklahoma’s unemployment benefits system.

- Oppose efforts to lower the small business exemption from 50 to 25 or fewer employees.

- Support Property Owner’s rights to regulate the possession of weapons on their property.

 Water Resources

- Ensure that Oklahoma water laws, policies and regulations meet the needs of southern Oklahoma’s citizens, assure adequate water supplies meet the future requirements of business and industry and do not limit opportunity for growth and development

- Support funding for water resource infrastructure development

- Support retention and protection of the private property aspects of Oklahoma’s surface and groundwater laws

 Infrastructure and Transportation

- Support the improvement and maintenance of the state’s transportation infrastructure and protect the dedicated funding for improvements (Eight Year Construction Work Plan) as a primary component for the safety and well-being of citizens and the growth and sustainability of the state’s economy

- Support all modes of transportation including transit and passenger rail service to meet the need of the public and the demand of the growing economy

- Preserve Oklahoma’s Five-Year CIRB plan – essential for counties to continue to address bridge and highway infrastructure needs.

- Preserve and protect the current eminent domain laws as described in the Landowner’s Bill of Rights

- Preserve and protect Oklahoma’s airport funding and protect the Three-Year Airport Capital Improvement Program.

- Support efforts to improve the sustainability of Oklahoma’s water and wastewater systems.

- Support efforts to protect and increase funding opportunities for water infrastructure projects.

- Protect a pro-investment environment to support the development of telecommunication infrastructure.

- Support efforts to remove barriers to broadband access in Oklahoma such as ensuring that providers are reasonably charged for use of the public rights or way or the facilities within the rights of way. 

Health Care

- Support the retention of viable employer-sponsored health care and encourage efforts to provide stability in the health insurance market

- Support efforts to enhance the access and affordability of health care thereby increasing the number of insured Oklahomans which strengthens statewide healthcare systems.

- Improve and support the Insure Oklahoma! Premium assistance program designed to make health insurance more affordable for small business while assuring the program’s long-term stability and the funding.

- Support evidence-based solutions that simultaneously achieve better health, better health care and cost containment.

- Support and promote efforts to recruit/retain and increase the number of health-care professionals in rural areas in Oklahoma

- Support initiatives that provide resources for employers for workplace training and screening programs in behavioral health to reduce Oklahoma’s ranking among all states as third highest in mental health disorders and second highest in substance abuse disorders

- Support full funding of mental health and substance abuse services to encourage and strengthen the stability of Oklahomans.

 Government Modernization & Pension Reform

- Support the creation of an Office of Accountability to monitor spending and agency performance

- Promote Agency & Board reform for greater accountability and efficiency of state government

- Pass line-item budgets for Oklahoma’s largest agencies to provide greater legislative control of taxpayer dollars

- Support pension reforms to protect the financial stability of Oklahoma’s state and local governments by lowering the unfunded pension liability