March 24th was the chamber of origin deadline or as I like to call it halftime.
If legislation is to be advanced all House Bills must have passed the House floor and all Senate Bills must have passed the Senate floor by the end of the session on March 24th. Deadline week is always a long strenuous week and this year was no different. Thursday night March 24th the House and Senate heard legislation well past midnight. Thankfully all of OPEA’s legislation was voted on before 8 PM so our team could get home to our families before dinner got too cold.
OPEA has been successful in passing many transformative bills on the House floor. Legislation such as HB 3422 state employee market-based pay by Representative Mike Osburn. The market-based pay philosophy is the permanent solution to addressing state employee pay. It guarantees that as the market changes state employee pay cannot fall more than 10% behind in pay the private sector for comparable positions. If your job classification does not have a private market equivalent such as DHS Child Welfare it will look at surrounding state pay for similar positions. Since market-based pay will take about a year before we begin to see pay raises we are running HB 3671 with Representative Max Wolfley for a 3% pay raise for Oklahoma state employees making less than $80,000 a year.
Most of our legislation this session are House Bills. That means that legislation for market-based pay, the 3% pay increase, and, increasing untaxed retirement income are heading off to be heard in Senate committees. You will begin to get OPEA “Calls to Action” to help make sure these bills pass and are signed into law. Make sure you know your State Senator and how to contact them because this is when the rubber meets the road and we need our members to help get legislation across the finish line. Sterling and Chancen will be at the capitol every day working on these bills but, we need our members calling about this legislation to make sure your Senator knows that state employees in their district are paying attention and we want these pay raises. Do not let your Senator think their constituents don’t care about increasing state employee pay. When you call about OPEA legislation tell your State Senator “I am (insert name) and I live in (insert town). I am an OPEA member and I work for (insert agency). You need to vote yes on House Bill 3422, HB 3671, etc.”
The full legislative update is below
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