OKLAHOMA CITY - The Second Session of the 57th Legislature kicked off on Monday, February 3 with Governor Kevin Stitt’s State of the State address where he laid out his policy and budget priorities for the year. Senator Wanye Shaw of Grove was in attendance.
"Two things stuck out to me as I listened to his plans – the governor is aggressive, and he is a reformer," said Shaw. "One of the biggest reforms Governor Stitt wants to tackle is eliminating the red tape hampering state agencies, businesses and agricultural operations across the state."
According to Shaw, Stitt is filing an executive order that calls for a comprehensive review of Oklahoma’s administrative code and is instructing agencies to remove two regulations for every regulation added.
"I commend the governor for this move – our administrative code is double the size of Kansas and 20 percent more than Missouri and New Mexico. We must allow our citizens to make the best decisions for their businesses and not be constricted by outdated rules and regulations that are no longer applicable," said Shaw.
Shaw says that Governor Stitt wants the legislature to address is how our state agencies appropriate funds. There are currently 10 state agencies that pass money through the state’s Medicaid program. Even more, there are 18 state entities that license health care facilities and providers.
"We must closely look at these agencies and find efficiencies in their processes to save taxpayer dollars and resources," said Shaw.
Another take away from Stitt's address, according to Shaw, is that Oklahoma is well on its way to “Top Ten” status.
"While there can be negativity, there are a lot of great, positive things happening in our state," said Shaw. "Oklahoma’s tourism website, www.travelok.com, achieved a number one ranking in web traffic this year, beating states like California and Colorado. This is especially exciting news because of the great tourist destinations we have in District 3 like Grand Lake, Lake Tenkiller and the Illinois River. It is a top priority for this administration to promote and increase tourism across the state, and I’m excited that folks from across the United States are choosing Oklahoma for their vacations and weekend stays.
"Because of the dedication we’ve made to our financial stability, Oklahoma is now ranked the fifth most solvent state in the nation. The state’s new online checkbook system has increased our financial transparency and we are now ranked seventh in online budget transparency. These “wins” are possible because of the legislature’s dedication to improving our state’s financial footing."
Shaw also says that the efforts to pass meaningful criminal justice reform last session were successful, and that current incarceration numbers are the lowest they’ve been since 2009.
"I anticipate criminal justice reform will once again be an issue we will spend extensive time on this session. Although we’ve made progress, there is still much work to be done to move Oklahoma forward in this area," said Shaw. "I’m looking forward to a productive legislative session over the next few months."
Shaw encourages his constituents to reach out to his office at 405-521-5574, or if visiting the Capitol in person, Senator Shaw can be found in room 233.