OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Kevin Stitt delivered his second State of the State Address in Oklahoma City on Monday.
2 Works for You's Chris DiMaria is in Oklahoma City with the key points of Gov. Stitt's State of the State Address.
According to Governor Kevin Stitt, more than 400 Oklahoma Guardsmen are currently fighting overseas.
Gov. Stitt began by talking about the record flooding last May. He thanked the Oklahoma National Guard as they “walked levies, filled sandbags, performed rescues, and conducted countless other tasks day after day,” and engineers managed the road that took evacuees from Braggs.
In this year’s budget, the general revenue fund is estimated to be down almost one percent versus last year, so the budget spending authority is about the same as last year. The governor cites “a changing and evolving market”.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate “remains below the national average. Oklahoma’s household income has risen by nearly 4% in 2019.” The governor says 60 companies moved to Oklahoma or made significant expansions this past year, with more than $2.9 billion in new investments.
Governor Sitt went on to say, after the Pardon and Parole Board consolidated investigators with the Department of Corrections, casework increased by 118% over 2018. The number of Oklahomans in prison declined by 7.6% from 2018, and now the number of incarcerated people is the lowest level since 2009.
Gov. Stitt says, “The Department of Corrections launched its first-ever re-entry fairs across 28 facilities for individuals that were part of the HB 1269 commutation docket.” That included the largest mass commutation of its kind in history.
Oklahoma’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security are merging, to “bolster response capabilities, streamline coordination, and leverage existing resources for stronger prevention programs.”
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Governor Stitt is calling for civil service reform that “requires all new hires in state government, moving forward, to be unclassified.” He wants to allow “discretion to offer bonuses... for employees to receive a promotion out of their restricted classified positions.”
Governor Stitt says “Oklahoma will begin the process in the coming weeks to rollout SoonerCare 2.0. Under this reformed Medicaid program, we will seek to close the gap of those uninsured in Oklahoma.”
The governor wants the Medicaid system “to focus on rewarding health outcomes and stronger performance in care.” He goes on: “We will seek to establish moderate premiums and work requirements... more than 180,000 Oklahomans would gain coverage under SoonerCare 2.0.”
By 2022, Governor Stitt wants to integrate “the functions of the State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), the Department of Mental Health, and others, as well as all of the state’s licensing boards that deal with health.”
School districts gave teacher pay raises “of at least $1,220 last year, but some went beyond, like Owasso Public Schools, where now a first-year teacher can expect a beginning compensation of $42,000.”
This year the state will raise the cap on the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship to $30 million, Stitt says.
Because 1.3% of common education funding came from gaming compacts, Governor Stitt is asking to allow “the remaining cash balance from 2019 and funds from the Revenue Stabilization Fund to be leveraged, if needed, to compensate for any temporary pause in Class III gaming fees.”
Tune in to 2 Works for You at 6 p.m. for Chris DiMaria's coverage of Gov. Stitt's State of the State Address.
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