The full Senate has given approval to a bill aimed at ensuring more state contracts are awarded to Oklahoma businesses. Sen. Rob Standridge is the principal author of Senate Bill 376, the Oklahoma First Act.
Standridge said the exact mechanisms are still being honed as the bill moves through the legislative process, but noted the concept is a simple one.
“This truly is about putting Oklahoma First when awarding these contracts. Our focus should be on building wealth and jobs for Oklahomans—not Texans or Floridians,” said Standridge, R-Norman. “As Transportation Chair, I believe this is an achievable goal, and one that will provide both short and long-term benefits for our entire state.”
In a press release sent to The City Sentinel and other news organizations on Thursday (March 14), Standridge said he was working on a point system that would help promote greater use of Oklahoma companies in awarding state or county highway system contracts, with exceptions for projects in which federal funding precludes preferences.
“I was at a meeting this week and was told about a contract with a university in Texas to do engineering research for our state,” Standridge said. “Can you imagine Texas using OU or OSU to do their research? We should be directing those dollars to our universities. Yet I’ve been told in the last four years alone over 50 percent of our engineering contracts have gone out of state and that it may have been as high as 80 percent. I know we have companies and universities right here in our state who can deliver top-notch results. It’s time to put Oklahoma First!”
S.B. 376 now moves to the House of Representatives.