The Legislature will of f i c i a l ly adjourn “sine die” on Friday, May 26, at 5 p.m. We’ve had a very successful session and passed bills covering everything from education to election protection to economic development.
We approved our state budget for Fiscal Year 24 this week. As it does every year, education will get the majority of the appropriations. The overall education budget is about $1 billion, almost 25% higher than in Fiscal Year 23.
Our historic education plan increases common education appropriations by $625 million annually and creates a tax credit program with a Fiscal Year 2024 cap of $155 million, which climbs to $255 million for Fiscal Year 2026.
One of the most significant single investments in the budget is a $215 million appropriation for three new programs for rural and urban areas, and stipulates preferences be given to areas previously declared federal disaster zones.
House Bill 1031X creates the Oklahoma Housing Stability Program, the Homebuilder Program and the Oklahoma Increased Housing Program. The bill would incentivize the construction of affordable housing across the state by offering developers interest-free loans to kickstart the construction of more single-family dwellings.
Under the new program, homebuyers could apply for grants to help them afford their down payments. The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency will develop rules to implement the program.
In other news, I was honored this week to recognize the Oktaha Lady Tigers slow-pitch softball team for securing a Class 4-A state championship, plus an academic state championship.
The Oktaha Lady Tigers closed the season with an impressive 28-7 record, playing with enthusiasm and dedication to reach the state championship game beating the No. 1 team in Class 4-A.
Coaches Kia Holmes, Lynda Bacon and Shea Lynch led the team to victory. Winning the state championship takes talent, hard work, and determination. I congratulate the Oktaha Lady Tigers for showcasing all three and bringing home the title!
For more exciting news, House Bill 2684, Bernardo-Mills Law, was signed into law by the governor on Monday. I want to thank everyone, especially Senator Stephens, for helping me run this bill to recognize John Mills’ legacy.
With my first session ending, I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned about the legislative process this year, and I’m excited to use the knowledge and skillset I’ve gained this year to continue to serve District 13.
It is truly an honor and privilege to represent you at the State Capitol. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any concerns at 405-557-7302 or neil. email@example.com.
Rep. Neil Hays, a Republican, serves District 13 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers McIntosh, Muskogee and Wagoner counties.