House District 11 State Representative Derrel Fincher has released another column to address constituents during unprecedented times.
Rep. Fincher will appear on Capital Calls on KWON AM 1400 and FM 93.3 at 9:30 a.m. on Friday with Rep. Judd Strom and Senator Julie Daniels. In the column titled Staying Connected, Rep. Fincher said:
“How are you doing? Ask others, and spend time listening so we can all stay connected.
While the House of Representatives is standing in recess until a call of the chair, lawmakers and employees of the House are working remotely. You can still reach my office through telephone or through email, and we continue to help constituents. I know this is a challenging time for all, but our goal is to continue to provide our regular assistance and help. For updates, I post on my Representative Fincher Facebook Page, and I also send regular emails to constituents who have emailed me.
The one constitutional duty of the House of Representatives is to pass a budget before the new fiscal year starts. Our team of House members and staff continue to refine the budget based on current circumstances. Good progress is being made on the budget, and the House will be prepared to pass the budget bill after the House, Senate, and governor agree on the terms. Those terms will include authorization, if necessary, to tap some of the state savings we put back in previous years to address shortfalls in revenue.
We also are working on prioritizing bills in the House. Some bills, such as the series of bills that comprise appropriations and budget, must pass. Other bills that are critical will be taken up as conditions permit. We do have emergency rules that allow Representatives to vote on critical bills even if we cannot gather. Bills that are not passed before the end the 57th Legislature expire and would need to be re-introduced in the 58th Legislature next year.
Yes, the health issue in Oklahoma is serious, but we can get through this together. Follow the Governor’s emergency order that closes all but essential businesses, and avoid gatherings. Practice social distancing to stay apart from others. One of the challenges of COVID-19 is that symptoms can take several days to develop following infection. The infected person feels fine, but can spread the disease to others. As Oklahomans, we have a responsibility to those around us to not be the one that spreads the virus. You have heard this before, but it always bears repeating – wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay home if you feel ill, cover coughs and sneezes.
You know that beating this is a marathon, not a sprint. Until we have an effective vaccine available, we will continue to be diligent about social distancing to not spread the disease. More people will work from home; workplaces where people have to be close to each other, such as factories, will develop protocols to inhibit spreading, and we will figure out how to re-open the businesses, schools, and offices that are currently closed. We will develop new social courtesies in public that show we are conscious of protecting others. But beat this we will.
Both the government and others have stepped up to help, with a federal aid package on the way. The schools are delivering meals for any student who needs one. Consider donating or volunteering at a charity if you are able. And keep in touch with each other – a simple, “How are you doing?” and listening for the reply goes a long way to keeping us connected”