From the desk: Bills, Women and Women's History Month

by Jessica Garvin

Last week the Senate took a major step in our new state budget process by voting on a

proposed spending plan for the upcoming year. I voted in support of Senate Resolution 31,

which details the proposed $12.3 billion spending plan my fellow senators and I have helped

craft over the past couple of months.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat challenged senators this year to come up with a more transparent

process for writing a state budget. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on

Health and Human Services, I helped play a role in the new process that gave the public a

behind-the-scenes look at how this conservative budget came together. Members of my

subcommittee were tasked with vetting budget requests from the Oklahoma State Department

of Health, Department of Human Services, Health Care Authority and other state agencies.

After talking with agency heads, we made recommendations to the full Senate Appropriations

Committee on how much funding each agency should receive in the new fiscal year. Although

funding for most agencies would remain flat or nearly flat under this proposal, the budget did

include additional funding for children’s mental health services and more funding for the

Department of Human Services to increase pay for providers who help care for Oklahomans

with developmental disabilities.

However, this won’t be the final budget that the full Legislature votes on before the end of the

legislative session. Senate budget leaders will soon begin meeting with their House

counterparts and the governor’s representatives to try to reach a consensus on a spending plan

for next year.

I’ve also been working this session on expanding the paid maternity leave offered to state

employees. Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed legislation to provide six weeks of

paid maternity leave to teachers and state employees. This year, I’m working with Rep. Nick

Archer to expand the law that pertains to state workers. We want to ensure that employees at

Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities also qualify for maternity leave after two years of

full-time employment.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, my fellow co-chairs of the Oklahoma Women’s

Legislative Caucus and I introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 18 to celebrate the many

achievements of Oklahoma women over the decades. The resolution highlights some of our

most prominent leaders, including first female statewide office holder Kate Barnard, renowned

historian Angie Debo and Civil Rights leader Clara Luper. The Women’s Caucus includes

Republicans and Democrats from both legislative chambers. Democratic Sen. Carri Hicks and I

serve as the caucus’ Senate co-chairs.

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

Facebook page @SenatorJessicaGarvin. You can also follow the main Senate Facebook

@oksenate or the Senate GOP page @OKSenateGOP.

If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please 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.

OPA Award Badge
OPA Award Badge
OPA Award Badge