December 6, 2013
Public Affairs Forum a Huge Success — With an all-time high attendance of close to 600 on hand, the State Chamber of Oklahoma hosted its annual Public Affairs Forum Wednesday. Those at the Cox Convention Center got an inside look into what's going on in Washington as well as the fast-approaching 2014 Oklahoma legislative session.
The Public Affairs Forum’s keynote speaker, Jim VandeHei, co-founder, president and CEO of POLITICO, provided an engaging and often humorous keynote address, sharing his views on the ever-changing landscape of American politics.
The State Chamber then honored five members of the Oklahoma legislature for their key efforts on pro-business legislation during the 2013 session. Senate President Pro Tempore Bingman, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, Senator Anthony Sykes and Representative Leslie Osborn were named Guardians of Free Enterprise. Representative Jon Echols received the Rising Star Award for the outstanding work and promise he showed during his first term in office. Click here to read the full press release.
The Forum ended with a panel of legislative leaders offering their stances on issues affecting the business community and their upcoming legislative agendas. Bingman and Shannon were joined by Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage and Representative Joe Dorman who was sent by House Minority Leader Scott Inman to speak on his behalf. In case you missed it, the event video will be available on our website soon.
Attendees also got the first look at "We’re In The Arena," a video featuring highlights of the business communities’ legislative victories in 2013 and upcoming challenges in 2014. Click here to view it.
Fallin Calls for Rigorous Academic Standards — Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order this week to outline Oklahoma’s adoption of more rigorous academic standards in English and Math in public schools. The executive order states the standards are to be developed and implemented locally, to protect against federal intrusion in curriculum and teaching strategies. The academic standards were authorized by the legislature three years ago and are being implemented in kindergarten through twelfth grades. Forty-five states have adopted similar standards and are commonly known as Common Core State Standards (CCSS). CCSS place an emphasis on critical thinking vs. rote and memorization to prepare Oklahoma students to be productive and effective in workplace settings. The State Chamber continues to support implementation of rigorous CCSS to make certain Oklahoma remains a competitive place to do business. In response to a question at the Public Affairs Forum this week, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman repeated his support for CCSS because rigorous standards ensure Oklahoma has a ready workforce. The vision and leadership of Governor Fallin and President Pro Tem Bingman for Oklahoma’s future is key to advancing our state. To read more about the Governor’s executive order, click here.
Oklahoma CIO Resigns — Oklahoma’s State Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit will resign in January to take the same position for the State of Oregon. Pettit was appointed as Oklahoma’s first CIO by Governor Brad Henry and continued under Governor Mary Fallin. As head of the Information Services Division of the Office of Management Enterprise Services (OMES), Pettit oversees all IT services to state agencies that have been consolidated into his office, handles state technology contracts and other issues affecting Oklahoma businesses contracting with the state for IT services and hardware. OMES Chief Operations and Accountability Officer Bo Reese will serve as acting CIO while a search is conducted to replace Pettit.
Rewrite of State Ethics Rules Continues — The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has posted a draft of new rules for campaign finance as part of the agency’s efforts to provide better clarity and simplicity to improve compliance. The agency has also posted additional amendments to chapters considered last month governing financial disclosure of state officials including citizens appointed to various state agency positions, conflicts of interest for public officials and lobbyist registration and reporting. Those include citizens appointed to various state agency positions, conflicts of interest for public officials and lobbyist registration and reporting. These changes will be considered by the Ethics Commission at a public hearing on Friday, December 13, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 419C, of the State Capitol building. Organizations with registered lobbyists, political action committees or leaders who are appointed to agencies, boards, commissions or serve the state in other official capacities are encouraged to review these draft rules and participate in the public hearing. Please feel free to contact Arnella Karges with any questions or comments.
State Supreme Court Agrees to Hear CompSource Challenge — This week the Oklahoma Supreme Court assumed original jurisdiction in the case Tulsa Stockyards v. Clark which challenges the mutualization of CompSource by HB 2201 during the 2013 legislative session. The petitioners say the State, rather than policy holders, owns the assets and reserves of CompSource. Other than the payment of premiums for covered employees, the State of Oklahoma has never appropriated money to CompSource. The court agreed to decide the case based upon the briefs filed by the parties.
State Treasurer Releases November Economic Report — Stories this month include topics such as higher education, the state’s gross receipts and Oklahoma’s unemployment rate. Click here to read the full report.
State Chamber Spring Internships - Now Accepting Applications — The State Chamber is excited to offer an internship program for Oklahoma City metro area college students seeking to gain experience in legislative advocacy and communications. We are currently looking for qualified students to fill internship positions in our Government Affairs, Political Projects, and Communications departments for the spring semester. Interns can gain experience shadowing registered lobbyists, communicating on a statewide level with both business leaders and elected officials or working on political campaign research and messaging – depending on the position. They also benefit by networking with industry professionals and business leaders. Click here for more information and an application.
This Week on the State Chamber of Oklahoma's Business Roundtable — Gwendolyn Caldwell, SVP Government Affairs and Jim Dunlap, Chairman of our Legislative Affairs Committee will be on the show discussing a recap of the 2013 Legislative Session. Watch at 10:00 a.m. Sunday mornings on Cox channel 3 or 703 in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Metro areas. Become a fan on Facebook for all the latest updates, behind the scene pictures and more! To see all past episodes, visit our website!
House Passes Legislation Restricting Patent Trolls — The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming passed the “Innovation Act” (HR 3309) on Thursday. The legislation is aimed at combating overly-litigious and extortion-driven patent trolls, who continue to abuse our patent laws at the expense of manufacturers, merchants and consumers. Patent trolls not only tie up our judicial system with baseless and costly litigation, they also hinder technological innovation and adoption as well as overall economic growth. The legislation now moves on to the Senate where passage is expected by the end of the year.
U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Rule on Internet Sales Tax Issue — The debate over online sales taxes will continue in the individual states now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to rule on a New York statute requiring online retailers to collect state sales taxes based upon the location of their “affiliates.” Until Congress acts, this leaves each state to decide how they want to treat “brick-and-mortar” and online retailers. Last year, states stood to lose around $23 billion because they could not collect sales taxes from most online purchases. Read this article for more information about how states are impacted by the ruling and their response.
Deal May Be Close Renewing Trade Promotion Authority — The Hill (12/1, Needham) “Global Affairs” blog reported Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) are close to reaching a deal to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) as trade officials increase their efforts to complete an Asia-Pacific deal before the end of the year. Linda Dempsey, Vice President of International Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers, said TPA is a top priority on the trade agenda and that members of Congress are getting close to reaching a deal.
Little Chance Seen Of Federal Budget Agreement Before December 13 Deadline — Bloomberg News (11/30, Przybyla, Wingfield) reported that the “latest attempt at crafting a budget plan is on track to end up the same way as others have in the past decade: with little or no agreement.” With no agreement by January 15, the Federal government would again shut down.
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|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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