Oklahoma Farm Bureau Steve Thompson Gives an Update on the Legislative SessionThu, 12 Mar 2020 18:31:55 CDT
With spring break and OYE ramping up, the Oklahoma legislative process is in “pause” mode, giving us time to review the session and focus on what lies ahead.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director, Ron Hays talked this week with Steve Thompson, director of government relations for Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
Thompson said next week will be a “quiet” week at the Capitol, so this is a good time to summarize the first half of the session.
Entering the 2020 session there were several holdover issues including a bill to reform eminent domain that Farm Bureau and the OCA worked together on to protect water rights.
Thompson said this issue was successfully resolved as was an attempt to increase property taxes by municipalities creating public safety protection districts.
The public safety protection zones is an issue that has been out there the last 4 or 5 years, Thompson said, but it quickly popped up early in this year’s session.
“We are strongly opposed to any property tax increase,” Thompson said.
The biggest fight so far for the ag groups has been another property tax issue. A bill proposing hazard mitigation districts met strong opposition from agriculture, oil and gas groups.
“We didn’t want this fight,” Thompson said, “but we soundly defeated it with a majority of House votes on our side.”
He noted coming up in the second half of the legislative session, Farm Bureau will be working on a couple of water related issues.
One measure that would streamline the groundwater permitting process has passed the Oklahoma Senate and now moves to the House. Farm Bureau supports this measure.
“This is our priority issue right now,” Thompson said.
He noted another water issue involves “produced” water from the oil and gas exploration process.
We need to make sure all that water is used efficiently and effectively,” Thompson said.
Click on the LISTEN Bar below to hear Ron Hays complete interview with Thompson.
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