From the desk: Stance on HB 4070, McGirt Ruling and more

by Jessica Garvin

The Senate has passed the halfway point in this legislative session. Although the number of bills

advancing through the legislative process have been whittled down, there’s still plenty of work to

be done at the Capitol. The Legislature recently hit the point in session when House bills cross

to the Senate and vice versa.

Roughly 275 Senate bills and two joint resolutions are eligible to be heard in the House while

423 House bills and one joint resolution could be heard in my chamber. I’ve signed on to be the

Senate author of more than two dozen House bills that have been assigned to various

committees in the upper chamber. That includes House Bill 3424, which is just one of several

measures I’m supporting that would allow for greater investment in rural counties across the


This bill would create the Community Quality of Life Enhancement Revolving Fund, which

counties could use to pay for infrastructure and public transportation improvements, parks and

recreational facilities, community centers, environmental conservation projects and public art

and beautification initiatives. Rep. Nick Archer and I propose the state put an initial investment

of $60 million into the fund that would be overseen by the Department of Commerce. As

lawmakers are debating what to do with a surplus of one-time cash, we felt like providing

counties a new funding source to invest in their communities and their residents was a no-


I’m also supporting House Bill 4070, which would allow counties with a population of 100,000 or

fewer people to levy a 0.75% sales tax to implement economic development initiatives. I

introduced nearly identical legislation this year, but lawmakers have rallied around this House

bill instead. The legislation would allow rural counties to form a County Economic Development

Organization to create new business expansion programs or enhance existing programs. In

Duncan, we already have something similar with the Duncan Area Economic Development

Foundation. HB 4070 would allow voters to decide whether rural counties could fund these

economic development efforts through a sales tax increase.

This would be similar to school bond elections, in which residents are asked to vote on various

improvements for local schools. School bond proposals must get 60% of the vote to pass, but a

county could approve this sales tax increase for economic development purposes with a simple

majority. Oklahoma City pioneered this idea with its MAPS initiatives. For decades, Oklahoma

City voters have approved a temporary, one-cent sales tax to fund capital projects and initiatives

that will create new jobs. HB 4070 would simply give rural counties the same chance to let

voters weigh in.

Last month, I participated in the first meeting of the governor’s One Oklahoma Task Force that

aims to address issues related to law enforcement in Indian Country following the U.S. Supreme

Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. I was honored that Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat trusted me

to serve as his designee on the panel. Ultimately, I hope this task force can strike a balance

between recognizing and respecting tribal sovereignty and clearing up any jurisdictional

confusion created by the McGirt decision. Tribal governments are a welcome presence in

Senate District 43. And at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that tribal members are

all Oklahomans too. The task force will make recommendations to the governor within the next

few months.

To stay informed about what’s happening in the Senate, visit

If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, contact me at the Capitol

by emailing me at, calling me at (405) 521-5522 or writing to

Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.

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