OFB Pleased with New State Laws Now Taking Effect, Looking Forward to Next Legislative SessionWed, 07 Aug 2013 15:42:59 CDT
With laws passed in the last session of the Oklahoma legislature and signed by governor Mary Fallin now taking effect, Oklahoma Farm Bureau's vice president for public policy, John Collison, says he was very pleased with the results of the legislative session.
He spoke recently with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the session and some upcoming meetings and concerns of the Farm Bureau. (You can hear their full interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story. Collison will also appear on this weekend's "In the Field" segment on News 9 Saturday morning about 6:40.)
"We were really excited for a lot of the victories that we got, not only water and horses, but agri-tourism, some fence-cutting laws, trespassing laws were the holy grail at the Farm Bureau to keep people off the property that don't belong there," Collison says. "And so we felt really good looking back at our session this year."
Collison said the statewide nature of the water resources boards is a tremendous benefit for the state as the northwestern and southeastern parts of the state had never been represented adequately in water discussions.
"This isn't an issue that's going to be solved overnight. This is finishing the legacy of Robert Kerr, really. What he started back in the 50s we need to finish that project and use that water instead of just kicking out to the Red River and sending it on down south."
Collison said Farm Bureau is getting ready to have a series of meetings across the state to listen to members and formulate action plans for the 2014 legislative session.
"We are a grassroots organization. Our ideas come from our members. We're going to be out from Guymon to Idabel, from Miami to Altus talking to these folks statewide for two solid weeks and we're really excited about it and really looking forward to it."
He said Farm Bureau members are urging their Congressional representatives to get the 11 titles of the farm bill passed by both the House and the Senate into conference committee so that farmers can move forward. He said members favor leaving the SNAP portion of the bill separate consideration later.
Collison said he views the immigration debate as overly complicated and the best solution would be to create a guest worker visa program that allows foreign citizens to come here, work and then return home.
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