The 2020 legislative session quickly hit high gear and is now running at a rapid pace. As February comes to a close, Oklahoma Farm Bureau is engaged in a large number of critical pieces of legislation. Below is a snapshot of a few the bills that are beginning to advance through the process.
HB 1992 would create the Oklahoma Public Safety Protection District Act, which allows municipalities to propose a new form of property tax to fund police, fire and emergency medical services. OKFB successfully worked with other stakeholders to include an amendment that increases the vote threshold for approval from 50% to 60%. HB 1992 now moves on to the Senate committee process for further consideration.
HB 2883 would create a commonsense exemption from fishing license requirements for anyone fishing in ponds on private property, whether on their own land or with permission. Most would probably assume this was already allowed, so OKFB is working with the author to ensure private property rights are clarified. HB 2883 passed out of the House Wildlife Committee and will advance to the House floor.
HB 3294 would create a small income tax credit for beginning farmers and ranchers. Modern agriculture is a capital intensive industry, with significant barriers to entry. This legislation will help focus attention on those hurdles, in hopes the tax credit amount can be increased in the future. HB 3294 passed its initial subcommittee and now moves to the full House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
HB 3823 would create a $25,000 income tax credit for medical doctors who locate in a rural area of the state. Access to quality healthcare in rural Oklahoma has been an OKFB priority issue in recent years and we will continue to work toward productive solutions. This proposal advanced for several months in 2019 before being sidelined over concerns about certain qualification details. HB 3823 was unanimously passed out of the House Rules Committee and is headed to the House floor next.
For more information on these bills or anything else at the state Capitol, please contact the OKFB Public Policy Division or your area field representative.