Happy New Year … a look to the future!

Rep. Rhonda Baker shares message with House District 60 constituents

State Rep. Rhonda Baker

By State Rep. Rhonda Baker

Greetings to everyone in House District 60. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is looking forward to the start of not just a New Year but a new decade. I always get reflective this time of year, thinking back on accomplishments of the past year and making resolutions in areas where I wish to see improvement. It is with anticipatory excitement that I look forward to the future.

Aside from family, friends and personal goals, the New Year for me will be filled with ways I can best represent my constituents at the state Capitol and ways I can serve all Oklahomans as a lawmaker and as the chair of the House Common Education Committee and in my other committee assignments.

On the legislative front, allow me to share a bit of news for the coming year. Lawmakers have already met their first deadline for the coming session. Bill requests had to be filed by Dec. 13. More than 3,000 bills and resolutions were requested this year between the House and the Senate. Lawmakers then work with our legal, fiscal and research staff to write substantive language for each bill. That deadline is Jan. 3. We next have until Jan. 16 to complete minor redrafts and formally file our bills.

In late January, the House will hold a series of budget hearings with five state agencies that receive the most in state appropriations. On Jan. 28, we will hear from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Jan. 29, we will hear from the Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Jan. 30, the State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will discuss their budget requests for the next fiscal year. These hearings are open to the public and give lawmakers a chance to ask detailed questions of these agencies before our work begins in the legislative session.

Session starts Feb. 3, when the governor will deliver his State of the State Address, during which he will outline his budget hopes for the next fiscal year.

During the interim, the Capitol has undergone major renovations, including the offices of all representatives. I will be moving into my new office soon, and I would love for you to stop by to visit and have a cup of coffee. My office this year is in Room 455. Once session begins, my office hours are Monday – Thursday. I can also be reached at 577-7311 or rhonda.baker@okhouse.gov.

I want to thank each of my constituents who has called, emailed and invited me to district events. I value your opinions and insight and look forward to another year of service. Thank you for the opportunity!

State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, represents District 60 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.