Rep. Josh West (R-Grove) has a new item to place on his resumé - floor leader for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

West began his new position this week, as the Oklahoma legislature continues with the second special session. 

In this role, West said he is one of four assistant floor leaders who help the Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols keep order on the floor during session.

"This will give me an opportunity to be on the leadership," West said. "It's a great opportunity for me and for the district.

"I'm excited. [Being in leadership] is really the only way you can make changes up there."

On Thursday, West returned to the capitol to join the leadership team as members pour through the 1,800 bills set for the 2018 session, to determine committee assignments.

Later, as bills work through the committees, the floor leaders will determine which bills will be heard by the full house on the floor.

"I'll have a direct impact on what bills are heard," West said. "I'll also be in the leadership meetings where they are discussing the budget."

West said he believes his personality, as well as his leadership skills, is what helped him stand out among his fellow class of legislators.

"I'll have a direct influence on what is going on at the capitol," West said. "It will be good for this district, because we are a rural district."

West said it will give him another platform to remind lawmakers bills not only impact those living in Tulsa or Oklahoma City, but throughout rural Oklahoma.

In two weeks, West will begin his second session in the Oklahoma House. He said if a budget resolution does not take place in before the regular session begins, lawmakers will be in a concurrent session.  

West has filed several bills for the upcoming session.

Among his bills is one which, if passed would require appropriated agencies file line item budgets.

"I have no problem funding agencies, but I want to see how the money is spent," 

Another bill focuses on the pay agency heads receive, capping the pay to $120,000 per year. If passed, West said the bill will allow agency heads to qualify for performance based bonuses.

"It's all based upon how effective the agency is," West said.

Another bill would allow higher education and technical institutions develop CLEET classes, which would allow law enforcement personnel take classes locally, rather than traveling to Ada for the six-month course.

"It would allow more options for people to attend CLEET," West said.

A fourth bill would impact local drug courts, and allow more people to become part of the system.

West said his goal with this bill is to help increase the number of people who can use the drug court system for rehabilitation, while staying at home with their families. 

"They can get their GED or high school diplomas, and we're not spending $20,000 per year to keep them in prison," West said.

Looking ahead

West plans to seek a second term as the district five representative. 

"I don't think I can get what I want to accomplish done in two years," West said. "Beth and I had a conversation about this. We're in it for the long haul. 

"I plan to progress through [the leadership] ranks. I have given the district a voice. It's not always fun, but it's very humbling.

"I like being in the trenches and trying to do good things."