OPEA would like to thank the members who came to the capitol yesterday to speak with their legislators about the importance of addressing state employee pay this session. Members from all regions of the state and several different state agencies were able to visit with their own local representatives but also Rep. Leslie Osborn, HB3293 author; Rep. Randy McDaniel HB2630 and Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman. Members were also recognized from the House of Representatives floor as they sat in the house gallery. We certainly appreciate both the members who spent their own time and money to attend the lobby day and the members who took time to contact their legislator by phone or email. If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to contact your house member and thank them for their support of Rep. Osborn’s pay bill and your senator to ask them for their support when the bill comes to the senate.
President Jess Callahan, DOC members James Kroth and Gregory Stockton, as well as Executive Director Sterling Zearley were interviewed by OETA’s Steve Bennett about state employee issues. The OETA segment will likely run in a future airing of their Oklahoma News Report which airs Friday evenings and is rebroadcast on Saturday and Sunday.
We are cautiously optimistic about the pay bill becoming law. It still has several steps to go before being passed and any raises must be funded through the appropriation process. However, improving state employee pay is a top priority for the house of representatives and they will convey that message to both the senate and governor’s office. It is important to remember that the pay bill is not just about a pay raise in 2014. Equally important is creating a system that can makes state employee pay a higher priority and provide for future raises when money is available. OPEA worked with the author to remove language that would have reduced benefits like sick leave and shared leave. The bill’s passage was also covered by several media outlets including on the KFOR website.
The work on state employee issues will continue throughout the session and your participation is key to our success. Next week will likely be relatively quiet at the capitol as it is spring break. However, the pay bill could be heard in senate committee as early as week after next. We will need every member and state employee to advocate on the bill’s behalf at that time. Thanks again for your continuing advocacy and be sure to pay attention to our website, Facebook and email blasts as we update you during the session.