We’re down to the wire with only three weeks of session remaining and possibly less. While legislative leaders are focused on the budget and wrapping up redistricting, the rest of us are working through the more than 100 bills that were assigned to conference committees.
Conference committees are joint committees with members from both chambers tasked with creating new language for bills that the House and Senate couldn’t previously agree on. Unlike standing committees, there is no deadline for conference committee besides just finishing in time to get the measures voted on before we adjourn Sine Die on May 27 at 5:00, which is when we are constitutionally required to be done.
Our biggest accomplishment of the week was getting the Congressional redistricting bill, HB 1527, to the Governor. The measure redraws the boundaries for Oklahoma’s five congressional districts based on the most recent Census population numbers.
Besides committee work, we also had several special events at the Capitol this week. Organizations host these events to educate the public about certain issues as well as lobby the Legislature.
Tuesday was Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the Capitol. Hundreds of people from around the state attended the free event, which helps raise awareness about the disease and it’s affects on the state’s population as well as provide educational tools to victims and their families. According the American Cancer Association, one in seven women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. It’s estimated that around 2,400 Oklahomans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 5,300 will die from it. Eighteen organizations which included medical professionals, counselors, specialists and survivors from throughout the state had displays in the 4th floor rotunda with information on detection and prevention as well as treatment options, medical assistance and a variety of other information for victims and survivors.
Thursday was the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Day to help raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. More women die of heart disease, stroke, and all other cardiovascular disease than the next five leading causes of death combined, including all cancers. This is an issue that is close to my heart as my mother died at the young age of 52 from heart disease. So many lives have and are being cut tragically short by cardiovascular disease, which is, for the most part, completely preventable with proper nutrition and diet.
In 2007, Oklahoma had the 4th highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country with nearly 12,000 Oklahomans losing their lives to heart disease and stroke. A woman dies every minute from heart disease. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in our country, killing more than 150,000 Americans each year and approximately 2,200 Oklahomans. It’s also the leading cause of adult disabilities in our state because people don’t recognize the signs of stroke quick enough to prevent permanent physical and mental damage. Sadly, most of these deaths and medical problems could be prevented through proper nutrition and exercise. That’s why educational programs like the Go Red for Women campaign are so important.
I welcome and appreciate any comments or questions you might have for me. At the State Senate, I can be reached by writing to Senator Kim David, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 520, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, emailing me at email@example.com, or by calling (405) 521-5590 and speaking to my assistant Gayla Guinn.