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Rep. Williams: House passes Bills to Senate

Rep. Danny Williams, House District 28

The Legislature completed last Thursday's deadline to pass bills out of their chamber of origin. After spending more than 35 hours hearing and debating bills, we ultimately passed 416 bills to the Senate for consideration.

The House of Representatives made huge strides in addressing Oklahoma’s lagging internet infrastructure over the course of the next decade. Many rural areas of our state have limited, if any, options for affordable internet—our state is ranked 47th nationally for rural access to broadband. A 2017 report by the Oklahoma State University Extension Office found approximately 30% of Oklahoma households had no type of internet connection at home.

A lack of broadband development hurts business and education opportunities in rural Oklahoma and our recruitment attempts to bring new businesses to our state. We have made significant progress with the passage of a package of rural broadband bills to improve our broadband development.

Last Monday, the House approved House Bill 1801, which would create the Veterans Higher Education Priority Enrollment Act. This would require all higher education institutions to grant priority enrollment and course registration for student veterans and active duty service members who are Oklahoma residents or stationed in Oklahoma. Priority enrollment and course registration is already given to a number of students, such as student athletes, honor students and international students, on campuses across the state.

We also passed a bill to help high school students become more engaged citizens. House Bill 2030 was authored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell would require high school students to pass the civics portion of the United States’ naturalization test in order to graduate.

This is the same test required of anybody applying for citizenship in the U.S. Fourteen other states have adopted similar legislation to ensure students graduate high school with a good knowledge of our nation’s history and how our government works. If signed into law, this requirement would begin in the 2022-2023 school year, but students who have an individualized education plan would be exempted.

Last Tuesday, the House passed the Oklahoma Play to Learn Act, which declares the Legislature’s intent to focus on the importance of child-centered, play-based learning as the most developmentally appropriate way for young children to learn. Play-based learning makes children excited to learn new things from a young age by fostering learning environments that promote movement, creative expression and socialization, among other things.

The Legislature is taking a brief break to give staff the time to transfer bills between the House and Senate, and we’ll begin hearing bills passed by the Senate in House committees on March 22.

Thank you allowing me the opportunity to represent House District 28 at the State Capitol!

Rep. Danny Williams, a Republican, represents House District 28 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Seminole County and northern Pottawatomie County.