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A fresh Oklahoma legislature begins work
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 7:00 AM

Oklahoma’s new governor Kevin Stiff kicked off the state’s 2019 legislative session Monday. Stitt, a first-time officeholder, addressed a legislature comprising a record number of freshman as he outlined his priorities during his first State-of-the-State address.

The governor outlined his vision for an economy-focused administration aimed at producing an efficient and adaptive government. “In my administration, every policy decision will promote a healthy economy,” Stitt said.

Increased funding for public education and criminal justice reform will also be among Stitt’s priorities.

Legislative leaders have expressed similar priorities and plan to work closely with the governor, saying that addressing these issues is critical to moving the state forward.

Oklahoma Credit Union Association Executive Director Nate Webb reported that with nearly one-third of the legislature serving a first term, credit unions will need to focus on education. As new lawmakers begin to grasp the nuances of myriad issues, credit unions will have the opportunity to teach them the unique distinctions between the cooperative structure of credit unions and other financial institutions, including how certain legislation can adversely affect their operations and their members.

"Education is critical," said Webb. "The good news is we have already started building relationships with many of these representatives and senators, having supported them during their elections."

A record 2,813 bills were filed this year, and the Oklahoma Credit Union Association has reviewed each to determine which are priorities for credit unions. The bills falling into that category number approximately 80.

"As session begins, we are meeting with authors and committee chairs to determine intent and begin the process of promoting the bills we support and killing or amending the ones we don’t," said Webb. “Data security, bills that would impact lienholder interest, protecting a business owner’s right to ban firearms on their property, and other business legislation that could impact a credit union’s day-to-day operations are among our top priorities."