2019 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

  • Ensure that the state budgeting process is stable and responsive to Oklahoma’s economy
  • Protect valuable economic development incentives that create and maintain jobs and encourage investment in Oklahoma and keep Oklahoma competitive
  • Support policies and structures that provide greater oversight on state agencies
  • Support efforts to ensure a level playing field between community retailers and on-line merchants through effective enforcement of the collection of sales taxes
  • Support reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Small Employer Quality Jobs and the Quality Jobs Act
  • 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 

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.
  • 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
    • Support development of a healthy and skilled workforce
    • Foster Innovation in Oklahoma’s Education System
    • 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 Advanced Placement programs and concurrent enrollment for high school students 
  • Post-Secondary – Workforce
    • 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.
    • Remove unnecessary licensing fees and requirements.
    • Streamline and coordinate Oklahoma’s Workforce Investments Boards to maximize federal funding and resources. 

Legal & 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 employer protections and property owners’ rights in Oklahoma medical marijuana laws.
  • Continue to support and improve the comprehensive workers’ compensation reform of 2013, resulting in reduces costs for businesses and improved outcomes for injured workers.

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

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.
  • 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
  • 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 and promote efforts to recruit/retain health-care professionals to 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

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