Senate Notes: Sen. Shane Jett
Excitement is building at the Capitol as we get closer to session, which starts Monday, Feb. 1. The governor will present his State of the State Address and executive budget, which is based on the preliminary revenue certification announced last month by the state Board of Equalization. The Legislature, however, is the government body constitutionally responsible for writing and passing the state budget. We’ll receive the actual amount of revenue we can appropriate in the FY’22 budget in mid-February.
This week, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary reviewed the issues and frustration of those awaiting appointments for new driver licenses for newly eligible drivers in their families, as well as the backlog on CDLs. Stringent COVID health protocols and quarantine requirements are exacerbating the wait time.
This coming Thursday is the deadline for bill filing. I’ve crafted legislation to underscore and protect our freedoms under the First Amendment regarding places of worship. I want to ensure the California ban on singing and chanting at religious services doesn’t happen in Oklahoma.
I’ve also proposed legislation to protect small businesses from being delineated as non-essential. Behind every small business is an essential family depending on the income of their business.
Speaking of the budget, we now have the added financial burden of covering the costs of expanding Medicaid, which was approved by voters last summer under State Question 802. It’s estimated the expansion could cost anywhere from $165 million-$247 million annually. I’ve been meeting with both House and Senate members as well as policy experts as we continue grappling with this new state expense.
We’re briefed weekly on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout process. I’ll begin releasing this information on my official Senate Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SenatorShaneJett. The state is working to improve the efficiency of the process and availability of the shots.
If you’d like to get vaccinated, you can register at www.vaccinate.oklahoma.gov. If you’re in the current eligible phase, a list of nearby locations and appointment times will pop up. Appointment times fill up quickly, so if there are none available just keep checking back daily. Currently, healthcare workers, first responders and those 65 years or older are the only people eligible to get the vaccine. If you’re not in one of these groups, you’ll receive an email letting you know when you’re eligible to make an appointment. If you don’t have internet, you can call 211 and they’ll assist you in registering for the vaccine.
The vaccine is voluntary and not mandated. I’ll never vote to support mandatory vaccinations. I believe in freedom and the right to choose for yourself.
In closing, our nation is in turmoil. I strongly believe, as Republican Congressmen confirmed in their floor debates, that there were voting irregularities in five states. People keep arguing that the fraud wasn’t widespread and wouldn’t have changed the election, but that isn’t the point. Americans deserve to have confidence that there is no fraud – no dead people, illegal immigrants, or others who legally don’t have the right to cast votes. All these groups were found to vote in these states.
I’ve joined a handful of legislators in urging our congressional delegation to investigate the fraudulent votes and ensure the will of the people wasn’t thwarted.
I’ve met with Senate staff to review statutes governing ballot harvesting and fraudulent voting and I’m pleased to say that Oklahoma laws are quite stringent regarding voter fraud prevention. If the five states in question had shared Oklahoma’s voter system, they would have been able to determine the validity of their votes. This isn’t a partisan issue but rather ensuring that every voter can have confidence their vote will be counted and not diluted by illegal or fraudulent votes.
This coming week and in the months ahead, I pray that as America’s patriots share their frustrations and beliefs that it is done in a peaceful manner. I’m a strong advocate for fighting for what it right, but we must fight with our words, not through physical violence or destruction of property. Violence is never the answer or the solution. God bless our country and our great state.
To contact me at the Capitol, please write to Senator Shane Jett, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 528.1, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at Shane.Jett@oksenate.gov, or call (405) 521-5539.