|May 11, 2012|
Oklahoma’s 2-Minute Business Watch Video
Join Governor Fallin On A 30-Minute Walk Monday May 14 – As part of Governor Fallin’s commitment to worksite wellness, she will be leading a “Walk for Wellness” next Monday, May 14th at 11:30 am, beginning at the North Plaza of the State Capitol. Gather at the North Plaza/North Lawn at 11:15 and join Governor Fallin for a 30 minute walk. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water.
Governor Signs Fiduciary Duty And Landowner Protection Compromise Legislation – Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2654 and SB 1665 this week. HB 2654 creates the Energy Litigation Reform Act necessary to address a 2010 Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals decision (Hebble v. Shell Western E&P) that led to increased frivolous lawsuits against oil and natural gas companies in Oklahoma. SB 1665 requires proper notification and protection for landowners and establishes parameters for damages as a result of seismic exploration.
Oil And Gas Industry Contributes $61 Billion To Oklahoma’s Economy – The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board released a report this week finding that the oil and natural gas industry added $61 billion to Oklahoma’s economy in 2011. The report reaffirms that the industry has helped Oklahoma bear the recession better than most states. The figure includes the industry’s direct and indirect output of the combined spending of 344,000 industry employees in Oklahoma. For more information on the study see the newsok.com article.
Legislation Of Interest This Week
Energy & Natural Resources
HB 2835 (Martin, Scott/Marlatt) A new law that allows for the usage of < 250 gallons/day of gray water for household gardening, composting, or landscape irrigation without a permit; Establishes requirements, provides for definitions and lists conditions. Signed by the Governor.
HB 3055 (Steele/Fields) Creates the Water for 2060 Act; allows one or more rural water districts to be considered communities under OWRB programs; creates Water for 2060 Advisory Council; provides for officers and meetings; lists duties of the Council. Passed Senate 32-0; House scheduled to consider Senate Amendments, 5/14.
SB 1189 (Marlatt/Jackson) Expands stipulations for associated common source of supply to include consideration of boundaries created through horizontal well unitization; EMERGENCY. Sent to the Governor.
SB 1665 (Johnson, R./Jordan) Amends definitions in the Seismic Exploration Regulation Act; sets requirements for notification of seismic exploration activity to surface estate owners. Passed House 78-2, 4/23. The House changes await acceptance in the Senate. Signed by the Governor. (SB 243, adds an emergency effective date. Signed by the Governor.)
Wall Street Journal Small Business Survey Ranks Cities With Overall Regulatory Friendliness – A Wall Street Journal survey recently ranked Oklahoma City as the nation’s friendliest city for small business regulation including health, safety, environmental and labor rules. The survey of 6,000 small firms was conducted by Thumbtack.com, an online marketplace for local services. The city received a grade of A+. By contrast, San Francisco and New York both received D's, at least from this sample of business owners. Oklahoma City also ranked high for low hiring costs, lighter licensing regulations and more robust networking programs. To see a copy of the Wall Street Journal article, click here.
We Are Watching Them So You Don’t Have To — Check out the most up-to-date anti-business votes, news and quotes on The State Chamber’s Legislative Watch website. www.wearewatchingthem.biz
The State Chamber Of Oklahoma's Business Roundtable is a TV show presented by Cox Communications that tells the business story of Oklahoma and how legislation affects Oklahoma's economy. State Chamber President Fred Morgan hosts weekly Roundtable guests including Oklahoma's business leaders and legislators. This week, Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, will be the guest.
Watch at 9 a.m. Saturday mornings on Cox channel 3 or 703 in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Metro areas. The show is also available 24-hours a day on Cox On Demand. Become a fan on Facebook for all the latest updates, behind the scene pics and more! To see all past episodes, visit our website!
Don't Forget To Follow Hashtag #OKJOBS This Legislative Session!
House Leaders Agree On Export-Import Bank - The Wall Street Journal (5/5, A4, Mitchell, Subscription Publication) reported that Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House came to an agreement on expanded lending by the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The agreement includes a three-year extension of the bank's mandate and an increase in its lending authority to $140 billion from $100 billion. The effort is part of the Administration's goal of increasing exports. The National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and The State Chamber of Oklahoma all support this effort. On Thursday, May 10, the House passed H.R. 2072 by a vote of 330-93 and the legislation now moves to the Senate.
TransCanada Reapplies For U.S. Permit To Build Keystone XL Pipeline - The New York Times (5/5, Frosch, Subscription Publication) reported on an expected development concerning the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, as TransCanada "submitted a new application for the project to the State Department on Friday." The company now plans to "route the pipeline around the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska, and the revised proposal starts a fresh clock on the environmental review process." The new application, "includes a number of possible routes that would run about 850 miles from the Canadian border to Steele City, NE." The State Department plans "to take a more prominent role in overseeing the project's environmental assessment, something its inspector general had cited as a departmental weakness in a recent report." The new application for the northern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline would not affect the construction work to begin on the southern part of the pipeline project from Cushing, Oklahoma refineries to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
NCSL State Spring Budget Update Shows Gradually Improving Revenue - The National Conference of State Legislatures released its Spring State Budget Update last week. According to the report, the states’ improving budget outlook has been driven largely by sales and corporate taxes, not personal income taxes. Twenty three states and the District of Columbia saw sales tax collections that beat revenue estimates. Sixteen states saw sales tax collections coming in on target, while six states’ collections came in below estimates. Corporate tax receipts, though a much smaller portion of state revenue, also helped the improving revenue picture. Twenty-two states reported corporate income tax receipts above estimates. Fifteen states reported collections coming in on target. Seven states and the District of Columbia came in below expectations.
Skilled Workers Needed And Manufacturers Scrambling To Find Them - USA Today (5/8, Diamond, Boyd) reports that manufacturers, who "have been a bright spot in the nation's slow economic recovery by adding jobs, from February 2010 to February 2012, at a faster pace than the rest of the economy, according to the U.S. Labor Department," have "policymakers and educators scrambling to train workers to fill a growing number of manufacturing jobs. But they are running into hurdles, ranging from a generation of students who have been dissuaded from pursuing the field to the sheer cost of setting up a training program." This week, The State Chamber sent out an Action Alert to our manufacturing members requesting an action call to the state legislative Appropriations Committee members to authorize funding for the FULL implementation of the state’s WorkKeys, KeyTrain and Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) program. To see a copy of that Action Alert and to request funding having a significant return on investment, click here.
Manufacturing Jobs Returning To The U.S. - MinnPost (5/8, Moran) reports, "Call it 're-shoring' or 'rebalancing' or just 'revenge,' but the dynamics of global labor, transportation and productivity costs that eviscerated American manufacturing over the past decade have begun to shift again. Over the past few years, some key American manufacturers have either brought jobs back to the U.S. from Asia and Latin America, or have made important decisions not to relocate them in the first place." Caterpillar, for example, "is building a $120 million plant to make giant earthmovers in Victoria, Texas, including some models that were previously built in Japan and shipped back to North American customers" and "General Electric reversed a decision to build a new 'green' refrigerator plant in Asia and decided instead to invest $93 million in refurbishing a plant in Bloomington, Indiana, saving 700 jobs."
Manufacturing Indications Are Mixed - Economic indicators released last week were mixed. Manufacturing continues to advance, boosting output and overall job creation. One encouraging sign was the improvement in new export sales, which should help to propel new activity moving forward. At the same time, most economic news lately has pointed to a spring slowdown. Factory orders in March fell 1.5 percent. Even so, the productivity figures suggest that manufacturers should continue hiring. Indeed, manufacturing employment continued to expand—albeit at a lower rate—in April, adding 16,000 new jobs.
President Obama Announces National Tourism Strategy To Continue Economic Growth And New Jobs - On January 19th, 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order and announced new administrative initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in and to the United States. This week, the Obama Administration announced its National Travel and Tourism Strategy. This important step officially elevates the travel industry to what it should be; a national priority and Oklahoma’s third largest industry. It also recognizes the industry for its fundamental contribution to our economy, national security and public diplomacy. The National Strategy sets a goal of increasing U.S. jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. This is no small effort, but the opportunity for economic growth and new jobs is too great.
Career Fair For Military Veterans On Monday – May 14, 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Defense Industry Alliance, The Midwest City Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Tinker AFB Airman & Family Readiness Center, OESC Workforce Oklahoma and the Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board will hold a Career Fair at the Rose State College Student Center. For more information and to register, visit www.aftercareers.com and click on the Career Seeker Menu.
2012 Oklahoma Safety & Health Conference – This year’s conference will be held on June 13 – 15 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, OK. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear speakers on a variety of 30 safety and health related topics, participate in courses designed for OSHA compliance and network with peer professionals. For more information, click here.
The State Chamber of Oklahoma's 2012 Annual Meeting
Book Your Hotel Room Now For D.C. Fly-In – The State Chamber’s Washington, D.C. Fly-In is scheduled for October 2-3, 2012. This year, we are offering two hotel options: The George, for members who prefer to stay close to Capitol Hill; and The Hotel Monaco, for members that prefer to stay closer to some of the city’s attractions. Room blocks are now available for both hotels for a group rate of $329/night for The George and $359/night for The Hotel Monaco. For more information and to reserve your room, click here. Event information and registration coming soon!
The State Chamber of Oklahoma is a statewide, nonprofit business membership organization that serves as the most credible legislative voice for Oklahoma's business community at the state and federal capitols. We work on behalf of the Oklahoma business community to affect legislative change and create a pro-growth climate with a statewide unified voice. We build meaningful coalitions and collaborative partnerships that influence the law-making process. We have the ability to leverage impactful relationships with political leaders to achieve legislative results.
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