Committees News & Announcements

Jan 31, 2023

Gann Bill Would Require Vote of the People to Redirect Property Taxes to TIF Districts

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, has filed House Bill 1379, which would require a vote by citizens to redirect property tax through Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts. Gann explained that in Mayes County, Mid-America Industrial Park (MAIP) officers proposed redirecting county property tax through the implementation of a TIF district to benefit new corporations coming into the industrial park.   MAIP was established to operate and develop the industrial park property using funds generated by revenues from a water plant, waste treatment plant, and the sale or lease of authority properties and interest earned on investments, he said.   The Mayes County commissioners appointed a review committee tasked with determining whether the TIF District proposal should proceed or not. The committee voted to form the TIF District, with one dissenting vote. County commissioners then voted 2-1, to affirm the decision.  "The process I personally observed was not one where balanced information was provided on whether a TIF District was a viable proposition for economic growth," Gann said. "I saw a process of one-sided information, using sales techniques to promote the proposal." Gann was told by some local citizens that they wanted to know what the new industries would be.  "The answers they were given were vague and they were told the information couldn’t be revealed because it was part of a non-disclosure agreement. This caused further frustration and more questions about the creation of a TIF district."  The citizens of Mayes County consequently came together and set out to challenge the proposal and bring it to a vote of the people. After a costly legal battle with MAIP officials, the group’s petition was placed on the ballot in November 2022. The citizens of Mayes County voted the TIF District down in every precinct in the county with the overall vote against at 63.9%. "House Bill 1379 will put the power back into the hands of citizens by requiring a TIF District proposal to go to a vote of the people for approval," Gann said. "It will eliminate the costly legal battle against government imposing a TIF District without the consent of the governed."  Gann said Thomas Sowell said it well: “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”   Gann said it is the citizens who pay taxes and are the ones who pay the price, and they are the winners or losers when big proposals affect their property tax base. 

Jan 23, 2023

Davis Files "Andy's Law" after Young Victim of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow, this week filed legislation that would require a carbon monoxide poisoning warning sticker on motorized boats that operate in Oklahoma waters. House Bill 2010, known as ""Andy's Law,"" is named after Andrew Free, a nine-year-old Broken Arrow boy who died in 2020 of open-air carbon monoxide poisoning after a day spent wakeboarding with his family at Lake Eufaula. ""Andy's death was heartbreaking for his family and our entire community,"" Davis said. ""After speaking with his mother, we decided we should work to prevent such a tragedy from happening to anyone else."" Davis said warning stickers would help boat passengers be aware of the potential dangers of open-air carbon monoxide poisoning and be alert to watch for symptoms.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it. CO can build up near swim decks or water platforms and in the air spaces inside a boat. The CDC says Every year, at least 420 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. Andy's mom, Cassi Free, said she's praying for the success of this legislation. ""We need this,"" she said. ""I need this for Andy’s legacy and for my heart, that I will know I’ve done everything possible to not sit back passively while other mothers grieve their babies. Our state needs this to help protect our people in any and every way possible from this invisible killer.""  Davis's legislation would amend state statute to require certain boats and other water vessels to have a carbon monoxide warning sticker affixed in plain view to the interior of the vessel. The Department of Public Safety would be charged with developing and approving the sticker and literature on the damage of carbon monoxide and boating. The department may use a sticker already approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or something similar used by other states. A warning sticker already developed and affixed by a vessel manufacturer would satisfy the requirements of the law. After development and approval of the sticker and related literature, printing and distribution would be the responsibility of Service Oklahoma and its licensed operators to be included in annual boat registration materials or when a title is transferred. The fee charged for the sticker shall be the cost of production. If passed, the law would become effective Nov. 1, 2023. HB2010 will be eligible to be considered once the legislative session starts, Feb. 6.

Jan 23, 2023

Gann Bill Would Prohibit Abuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, this week filed a bill to prohibit the abuse of non-disclosure agreements, providing greater transparency in government. House Bill 1378 would require businesses of any kind seeking state or local incentives to fully disclose who they are and what they do and also would prevent government officials from entering into non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). ""When politicians are willing to invest and speculate with taxpayer dollars, the Oklahoma taxpayer has a right to know exactly how taxpayer dollars are being distributed for business activity and exactly who will be receiving the taxpayer dollars from vendors seeking to do business with the State of Oklahoma,"" Gann said. Gann gave the following example of an NDA. ""In June 2022, in a State Department of Education Board meeting, a testing vendor was awarded $33.6 million for their product, yet the person presenting the proposal refused to reveal who the vendor was. They stated the Office of Management Enterprise Services for Oklahoma was under a NDA. The proposal passed without the public knowing who was receiving $33.6 million of taxpayer dollars despite the board meeting being governed by Oklahoma's Open meeting Act. ""NDAs undermine transparency, which is the purpose of such law."" Gann also pointed to House Bill 2034, the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022, which passed during the 2022 legislative session and was signed into law by the governor. The bill prevents the state treasurer from investing state resources into companies that ascribe to what Gann termed ""woke ideologies,"" such as Environment Social Governance (ESG). ""The company that competed last year for the over $700 million in state dollars set aside in the Large Economic Area Development (LEAD) Act was an ESG company and could have chosen to locate in Oklahoma, but officials were not disclosing the details because of the NDA signed by elected officials,"" Gann said. ""Taxpayers have by large majorities rejected these woke ideologies ascribed by stakeholder companies not only at the ballot box but with their pocketbooks as well,"" he continued. ""It is time the Oklahoma taxpayer is respected by the government they are compelled to support. I urge passage HB1378 to require full transparency in government.""