Local officials give updates at October legislative breakfast

Yukon Chamber of Commerce hosted at Archery Traditions of Oklahoma

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U.S. Senator James Inhofe’s field representative Bryson Panas and Dist. 41 Rep. Denise Crosswhite-Hader, R-Yukon were on hand at the Yukon Chamber of Commerce monthly legislative breakfast at Archery Traditions of Oklahoma. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond
Contributing Writer

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly legislative breakfast on Tuesday, October 6 at Archery Traditions of Oklahoma, 328 Elm Avenue.

Dist. 41 Rep. Denise Crosswhite-Hader, R-Yukon, said legislators are currently involved in interim studies. She said there are three levels of law and they include constitutional, statutory, and code.

Crosswhite-Hader said, “In 2020, there are 142,000 plus codes and restrictions.”

She also said she is still focused on the bill she pushed this year that pertains to warnings on the back of hotel doors. Just like there are instructions for what guests should do in a fire, Crosswhite-Hader said she wants to add information on the back of doors, “so visitors can know what’s the best thing to do in case of a tornado warning. It won’t be mandatory immediately. But when a hotel is updated, then they would have to comply with the law if passed.”

Crosswhite-Hader also said the census is important. It impacts our federal funds and our representation. If the census shows population has changed, Crosswhite-Hader said, “then the state legislature will redraw those lines per the census findings.”

Crosswhite-Hader said legislators are working on numerous issues now.

She said, “My district includes Cashion which is in Kingfisher County. But my district does not include the part of Cashion that is in Logan County. There will be opportunities for citizens to give their input in such matters.”

Crosswhite-Hader also addressed mail-in voting that has been changed due to COVID-19.

She said, “In Oklahoma, we have a paper trial for mail-in voting. If you go to on-line voting, you don’t have a paper trail. However, we did make some changes due to COVID. Instead of getting a mail-in ballot notarized, you can submit a copy of your photo I.D.”

County Commissioner for District 3 Jack Stewart said there was a census in 2010. And comparing that census to numbers today, Canadian County is growing faster in population than the state of Oklahoma.

Stewart also said, “We are hard surfacing gravel roads. We have completed our 2021 budget. The fairgrounds expo center is really coming along well. It’s one mile south and one mile east of El Reno. Comparing 2020 sales taxes in Canadian County, month by month from a year ago, it’s been down every month.

“The county jail can hold about 200 inmates. Yesterday we had 157. Of those, 25 are already scheduled to be in state custody, but the state won’t take them due to COVID restrictions.”

County Commissioner for District 1 Marc Hader said “Piedmont Meadows is an unincorporated area. There are homes there. The roads aren’t good. We need a way to pay for road improvements. We’re looking for a fair and equitable way to pay for those improvements.”

Jim Crosby, City Manager of Yukon, said, “The City of Yukon budget is still doing very good. We’re above what we expected to be on budget.

“Highway 4 work is moving forward rapidly. It’s about four to six months ahead of time, unless weather disrupts the work. We hope to start Phase 2 in late 2021.

“Frisco Road improvements are moving rapidly. Probably will be open by the end of 2021. We are moving forward on a project involving Garth Brooks Boulevard, to keep traffic moving forward. That’s been a major problem out there and traffic has been a mess there. In tonight’s executive session we will start discussing who will be the next city manager.”

Dr. Jason Simeroth, superintendent of Yukon Public Schools, said that during the current COVID-19 situation, “Teachers are doing a great job. Information is on our website about various issues. Masks are mandatory for everyone in all of our schools, and we are allowing no visitors.

“Everyone is doing a great job of social distancing. We had about four of our football players quarantined due to COVID, and some softball and volleyball players. Quarantined students accounts for a lot of our absences right now. Roughly 1% of our population is positive for COVID.”

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District board member Leonard Wells said, “The board is super happy with what teachers and administration are doing so far. It’s not a lot of fun. But we’ll get there. I would like to see more people wearing masks.”

Yukon Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Shelton said “We’ve postponed our luncheon this week because our speaker retired. Saturday, October 9 we’ll be at the Chisholm Trail Festival. We are working on our profile books, but COVID has impacted that.

“Our Brew and Wine Festival was a huge success. Some of our vendors asked if we can do it twice a year. We had eight wineries and four breweries, all from Oklahoma. We are still adding a lot of new chamber members.”

U.S. Senator James Inhofe’s field representative Bryson Panas discussed President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Panas said, “The judiciary process will begin the week of October 12. The week of October 26 will be the floor vote. During an election year, the precedence is that when there’s a vacancy, each time, the nomination was confirmed except in 1968. Since 2017, Coney Barrett has been on the 7th Circuit Court. Also, we got a short term funding bill. As well, we had a highway bill back in July of last year. There’s now an additional $100 million per year, which is a bit of funding coming back this way and it has already passed.”

Several legislators were missing from the meeting. Dist. 60 Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon did not attend because she was with the governor. Dist. 43 Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, was working with a constituent.

And Dist. 22 Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma, was campaigning.