The focus at the Capitol this week was a request by Governor Stitt that resulted in HB 4455, a piece of legislation called the Large-Scale Economic Activity Development Act (LEAD Act). The LEAD Act creates incentives for businesses seeking to create enhanced economic development within Oklahoma.
HB 4455 allows for a 3.4% rebate on qualified investments made by businesses in the state of Oklahoma. The rebate will be paid through a fund set up through HB 4455 that will be appropriated by the legislature. It is projected that lawmakers will appropriate $698 million of monies carried over from previous fiscal years to establish the fund and subsequently create a cap on how much money can be used for the rebate.
To qualify for the rebate, a business must make at least $3.6 billion in capital expenditures and create at least 500 direct jobs during the first year. The required employment numbers grow each year before topping out at 4,000 required direct jobs in years four and five.
While this rebate would be available to other businesses that significantly enhance economic development and meet the requirements set forth in HB 4455, Governor Stitt’s call for such legislation is believed to be in direct response to the state’s efforts to attract Panasonic to the state as they are in the final stages of selecting a location for their new battery plant. If Panasonic selects Oklahoma for their new plant, it is projected to be the second largest manufacturing plant in the United States.
Prominent medical marijuana legislation also saw movement this week as SB 1697 by Sen. Darcy Jech and Rep. Anthony Moore passed out of the House. SB 1697 would require all medical marijuana growers applying for a grower license to file a bond with OMMA at a minimum of $25,000. The bond would set aside money to be utilized to reclaim and restore property if a marijuana grow were to be abandoned. This comes amid growing frustrations felt by counties and neighboring residents left to foot the bill and deal with the fallout caused by abandoned grows with destroyed property. SB 1687 allows OMMA to increase the bond amount if the expected difficulty of reclamation for a property is projected to be higher.
As last week was the candidate filing period for the 2022 election cycle, Oklahoma Farm Bureau has been hard at work gearing up for county, district, and state OKFB Ag PAC meetings. County meetings will be held April 25 through May 6, followed by district meetings May 9-17. The state OKFB Ag PAC board will meet May 25 to make final decisions on candidate support.
You can find a full list of OKFB Ag PAC district meeting dates and locations here.
For an update on weekly happenings at the Capitol and an outlook on what is ahead, be sure to tune in to Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s weekly public policy update each Friday at noon via Zoom.