We made a difference! This legislative session was tough, and maybe even “the worst”, but through all that we can see that our efforts had an impact. It IS important to celebrate our success as we assess our next steps. This is a marathon, y’all, not a sprint.
Now we need to know how our legislators voted so we can use that knowledge going forward.
Please read on for:
- The session in review
- How they voted
- What next
The session in review
In 2013 all of the House Democrats and 7 House Republicans voted against an unnecessary tax cut, but this year it was all of the House Democrats and 13 House Republicans voting “NAY.” Hooray for their efforts! The tax cut passed anyway but the message is starting to leak through. The number of senators who get it has grown too. If the latest tax cut is thrown out by the courts, we may need to tell them again “Don’t cut taxes until you fund services!”. Thank goodness we have our talking points ready! Are you thinking about how you can say it even better?
Without our efforts at the Capitol, that huge, unnecessary subsidy for drilling could have been even larger and quicker to pass. Those of you who took time to call your legislator, show up at the Capitol, and share the information deserve a big hug for your efforts. On the next to last day, it came down to a margin of just one vote. If a single Senator had switched sides, the tax break would have been sent back to committee and most likely not made it through this year! But our legislators on both sides of the aisle need MORE from us before they will trust that they can base their votes on facts instead of fear.
Education team for the win! The most encouraging development this session was seeing tens of thousands of parents and educators take a stand for education. Thanks to their efforts, the school funding formula was boosted $40 million this year — not enough to recover from more than $200 million in cuts since 2008, but it’s a start. Let’s show the legislators that our bite is even worse than our bark! They need to know they work for you!
Oklahoma is still refusing billions in federal dollars to expand health coverage for our people. Even worse, the state is considering cutting Medicaid provider reimbursements and hiking fees on the poorest and sickest Oklahomans. What can we say? More Oklahomans need to mobilize for expanding coverage because lives are depending on you!
How they voted
Of course, YOU all know that you can follow this link to your legislators at any time, but did you also know that all their votes are easy to find online? Check out the OK Policy Bill Tracker and keep following Together OK to get updates on the most important votes.
Here’s how they voted on our key issues this year:
Tell your legislator how you feel about their votes! Bad reviews change restaurants and eventually bad reviews change legislators too. We picked the two most impactful votes for this report. Make sure they know you are watching! Click here to see who voted to make permanent a multi-million dollar tax break for drilling that was unnecessary and a bad deal for Oklahoma AND who voted to schedule more tax cuts when we still aren’t investing what is needed for a world-class education system, safe communities, or a functional safety net.
And remember, it’s just as important to thank the ones who made the responsible choice to vote for protecting revenues. Show them we’ve got their backs!
Also, don’t forget to thank yourself. Some of the legislators who we were happily surprised to see vote no on these bills were also those who received the most emails from you!
Over the summer, we’ll continue working hard to grow our coalition and make a bigger impact next year. We’ll be identifying key legislative districts to build a presence in, so grassroots leaders like you can influence votes when it matters most. To help right now, you can invite us to speak in your community and invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join our team.
Don’t give up and don’t wait for a hero. The hero you’ve been waiting for is you!