Cattlemen Take Opportunity to Go on the Offensive During This Year's Legislative SessionFri, 08 Mar 2019 15:07:07 CST
At just over a month into the 2019 Oklahoma Legislative Session, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn caught up with Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey for a recap on the latest activity at the State Capitol. According to Kelsey, the first major deadline has passed since the last time we spoke a few weeks ago at the beginning of the session, which has drastically reduced the total number of bills for consideration by state lawmakers. As this process continues, Kelsey says this year’s priorities will gradually become clearer.
Listen to Horn’s complete conversation with Kelsey, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“We started session with 2,850 bills give or take a few. We’re now down to 1,020 bills that are alive and active,” Kelsey reported. “That’s very important because we’re starting to kind of hone in to what the legislature’s priorities are going to be.”
Specifically looking at the proposed legislation that could impact the state’s beef industry, Kelsey says the OCA is still focused primarily this year on anything related to private property rights. One bill, Kelsey says, that has made it out of committee is an eminent domain bill pertaining to water rights. This bill has left the House and is now under review in the Senate. OCA is also monitoring a bill that prohibit the flying of drones over private property and agricultural land. Fortunately, though, no potentially negative bills have yet surfaced.
“Honestly, we’re probably playing more offense this year than we ever have in sessions I can remember. Most of the time it’s been defense - pushing back against bad things,” he remarked. “This year, we have more of an opportunity to play some offense. I think that’s reflective of some of the fresh new ideas from both the House and Senate and quite frankly an administration that is very friendly to our business.”
March 14th is the next deadline for bills to undergo a second round of review which should again reduce the total number for consideration, but probably not as dramatically as the previous one. Kelsey says that while there is no apparent threats currently to be concerned about, the potential for the unexpected to arise is always there.
“Now, we do have to watch. Zombies do occur at the Capital. Somebody might try to sneak in an old bill in the form of an amendment or something like that,” he said. “So, you have to stay vigilant.”
In the meantime, taking advantage of this year’s offensive opportunities, Kelsey continues to work with Rep. Mike Sanders and Sen. Michael Bergstrom on their twin bills that if passed, would reserve the commercial use of the term “beef” in the state strictly for conventionally produced protein. The pursuit of this measure comes in anticipation of the arrival of “fake meat” or cell-cultured protein products on the commercial marketplace. If passed into law, these products would be barred from any deceptive labeling imitating beef.
You can listen to Kelsey and Horn talk more about this and other topics regarding the recent political activity at the Oklahoma State Capitol, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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