Governor delivers 2018 State of the State Address, legislative session begins

Posted on: 2/7/18

On Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin delivered the annual State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the Oklahoma Legislature. In it, Fallin focused on the urgent need to improve the state’s budgeting process, saying the Step Up Oklahoma plan proposed by a group of community and business leaders is the best option for lawmakers to sufficiently fund education, public safety, health, and the state’s infrastructure needs.

Fallin urged lawmakers to focus on solving the state’s budget crisis and address important policy goals.

“Make no mistake about it. This is an historic, defining moment before us. We are in a unique period as this legislative session begins with a concurrent special session. We also are at a special point in Oklahoma’s journey because the prospect of a brighter path forward is so very near,” said Gov. Fallin. “What we do as a unified group of people elected by the citizens of our state could be considered the moment in time that changed Oklahoma.”

Fallin addressed the critical need for health care and mental health funding, saying “Do we just accept that without a budget fix, we will just cut provider rates and other essential health and human services for our most needy and vulnerable citizens? Do we believe the only solution to helping our mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and friends who are not violent, but need substance abuse treatment, is to warehouse them in prisons? Or will our state be more successful if we help them put their families back together, get jobs, and become taxpayers?”

The governor reminded lawmakers of the policy strides taken by the Department of Human Services in the Pinnacle Plan to meet the needs of abused or abandoned children. Oklahoma has the highest number of gains in foster care homes in the nation.

Fallin asked legislators to recall the Oklahoma Standard – of neighbor helping neighbor - and of the state being Oklahoma Strong – when in the face of crisis Oklahomans came together and solved the problem.

“The people of Oklahoma expect excellence and demand we solve our state’s problems. That is why we were elected – to lead, roll up our sleeves, get to work, solve problems, and find solutions,” she said. “This is a defining moment for our state. We have two clear choices – We can continue down a path of sliding backwards, or the second path is to say ‘Enough is enough! We can do better! We deserve better! Our children deserve better!”

Gov. Fallin’s full State of the State Address can be found here. Her proposed Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 can be found here.

Watch for more details in next week’s Hotline on the 2018 Legislative Session and the special session running concurrently.

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