How Do I Advocate for Oklahoma State Employees?

2022 Legislative Session began on February 7th.

OPEA has been at the capitol working on behalf of Oklahoma State employees every day. We will continue working to pass legislation to improve state employment and prevent legislation harmful to state employees from advancing. As we begin to see OPEA legislation move and come up for consideration, make sure you stay in tune with legislation impacting Oklahoma state employees. OPEA has worked with state legislators to introduce the following bills:

  • Implementation of a state employee market-based pay plan* (HB 3422, Rep. Osburn)
  • Prevent state employees from losing earned annual leave due to “use or lose” provision in
    state law and require payment for hours over limits (HB 2294, Rep. D. Roberts)
  • Increase state employee longevity pay by starting at $500 and increasing by $250 up to
    $2750 (SB 981, Sen. Weaver)
  • Reform or eliminate the OPLAA and the institution of retiree COLA triggers in OPERS rules
    to make sure COLAs are safely provided to retirees more frequently than in the past*
    (HB 4120, Rep. Frix)
  • Tie Court Reporters’ salary to the Judicial Compensation Review Board* (HB 4118, Rep.
  • Establishing a floating state holiday (HB 4190, Rep. Echols)
  • Allowing all years of military service to be considered years of service to the state
    (HB 3709, Rep. Bush)
  • Move OPERS members hired after 2015 into the defined benefit pension plan instead of
    the Pathfinder defined contribution plan (HB 2486, Rep. Frix)
  • Require all state employees receive a certain level of compensation for working “on-call”
    (HB 1787, Rep. Pae)
  • Develop a new form of state employee leave to be used specifically for time spent
    volunteering for charitable causes and organizations (HB 1943, Rep. Munson)
  • Adding an additional form of administrative leave to be used to improve state employees’
    physical wellness (HB 2190, Rep. Dobinksi)
  • Adding the office of State Fire Marshal employees to OPERS Hazardous Duty Benefit
    formula (HB 2487, Rep. Frix)
  • Adding Military Police to the OPERS Hazardous Duty Benefit Formula (HB 2758, Rep.
  • Establishing discounts for state employees at state parks and lodges (HB 3320, Rep. Miller)
  • School for the Deaf employee reforms (HB 3888, Speaker McCall)
  • Removing the cap on final wages and benefits paid to a surviving spouse (HB 3729, Rep. J.

How do I stay engaged with legislation impacting Oklahoma state employees?

  1. Join OPEA

    Make sure your co-workers know about OPEA and the effort we put in to improve state employment. Ask them to join OPEA, and if they have questions please call our OKC office at 405-524-6764. Join OPEA online using this link!

  2. Update your contact information

    OPEA works hard to keep you informed, but if our communications don’t get to you it doesn’t help anyone. Make sure you have your personal email address on file with OPEA. Soon we will begin to roll out text notifications for the most important legislative initiatives such as pay raises. Make sure your cell number is on file with OPEA.

    We use member home addresses to inform elected officials how many OPEA members live in their district. In addition, when the Oklahoma Public Employees Association’s Political Action Committee endorses candidates updated home addresses allows us to get you communications about the candidates up for election in your district.  As state employees, elected officials’ decision-making can drastically impact our work. Knowing what candidate is good for state employees is important on election day.

  3. Follow OPEA on Social Media

    Throughout the legislative session, we post updates on our social media pages. Our social media will keep you informed with upcoming OPEA events and webinars.  You can sync the OPEA events calendar to your personal calendar by following this link and clicking the “subscribe to calendar” button. Our social media accounts are linked below:

    Our next event is a Facebook Live with Representative Mike Osburn on February 17th at Noon.

Easy ways to advocate as an Oklahoma state employee or retiree

  1. Know your state house and senate members

    If you don’t know your state representative or state senator find them using this tool.

  2. Save your elected official’s contact info to your phone

    When OPEA sends out a legislative alert calling your legislator’s office is the best avenue to reach them. Emailing is a good option, but it is less effective. Keep in mind elected officials will check two things when you contact them, your address to verify you are a constituent, then they will check if you vote. They cannot see who you voted for, but they can see if you vote. When you call, introduce yourself let them know that you are an OPEA member. Make sure you tell them where you work.  Once you have introduced yourself then let them know why you are calling today you can cut straight to the chase. Tell them you are concerned about the bill (HB 1146, SB 420, etc) when you call in. OPEA will always include a bill number on legislative alerts along with talking points.

  3. Build a relationship with your legislators

    Your legislators are elected by your community to represent your community. You and your neighbors are their bosses. Treat them as such. Invite them to get coffee, talk to them when you see them at church, events, etc. Building relationships with legislators is how you advocate. OPEA’s most involved members get called by their legislators to advise them on votes regarding state employees. Now that’s people power. My best advice is to make that legislator think about you and your family as they are placing a vote that will impact state employees. If they vote unfavorably make sure they know their electors are paying attention, and that they will be held accountable. Do not let them think state employees don’t care or don’t pay attention.

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