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Looking back on my first legislative session

Rep Kay Floyd
Rep Kay Floyd

by Kay Floyd

On May 24, I wrapped up my first legislative session as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. I was elected in 2012 as a Democrat to represent an urban district in the heart of Oklahoma City, which placed me squarely in the minority. Although being in the minority presented many challenges for me, my experience as a state legislator was truly a rewarding one.

In the House of Representatives, Republicans outnumber Democrats 71-29. Normally expectations for a freshman legislator in the minority caucus are low, but I believe that just because you are in a minority does not mean you do not have a voice. I filed eight different bills, but only one made it out of committee: HB 1623.

House Bill 1623, that would place suicide prevention training in our schools, was very close to completing the legislative process and making it to the Governors’ desk to be signed into law. We successfully got the bill passed out of the House and the Senate, but hit a few bumps in conference committee. The bill is still alive and will be carried over to next session. I’m proud of the work my fellow colleagues and I have done on this bill and I hope once it passes, the crucial training will help save the lives of young people across the state.

During the final days of session, the House voted to release $45 million from the Rainy Day fund to help with recovery efforts from the recent tornadoes. I’m glad the House could come together and do the right thing for the thousands of Oklahoma families that lost their homes.

We made some good strides over the past few months, but the Legislature has a long way to go to secure the future of Oklahoma. While I was glad to see the Legislature coming together to help victims of the tornado disasters, I was disappointed to see some of my colleagues place our children’s education on the backburner. Education was my number one priority as a candidate and has been my number one priority as a legislator. The budget passed this Session leaves common education to receive the lowest share of the budget since the year 2000 and provides little new support for the most basic needs of schools.

Over the past few months, I have visited 19 of the 20 schools in my district. It has been an enlightening experience to tour the schools and visit with principals, teachers and students. Unfortunately, our legislature is still not prioritizing education and I will continue to fight for public education at the State Capitol.

I consider my first session as a state legislator a successful one and I plan on spending the next few months talking to my constituents about their ideas and concerns. I look forward to serving District 88 and hope to do so for many years to come.

NOTE: Rep. Floyd, a Democrat, serves Midtown Oklahoma City in the state House.

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