OKLAHOMA CITY - State Rep. Jason Dunnington held a press conference Wednesday afternoon as part of a nationwide movement.
It’s part of the multi-state #fightingforfamilies movement by State Innovation Exchange Action, a non-profit fighting for bills that would raise incomes, support creation of good jobs and level the playing field for working families.
“Our economy and our government should work for Oklahoma’s middle class and working families, not just for big corporations and the wealthy few,” said Rep. Dunnington.
Several Democrats attended the press conference and highlighted bills they’ve sponsored this year that they claim have been blocked by Republicans.
Representative Collin Walke had a bill that would have allowed workers to accrue earned paid sick leave.
“I’m extremely disappointed that the Republicans did not feel that in this current economic crisis, where we have a higher unemployment rate than the national average, that they refused to hear this act. I think it’s shameful,” said Rep. Walke.
Other bills that never received a floor hearing included one that would have increased funding for community health care centers and one that would provide tax exemptions for diapers and formula.
“On the same day that I was told it wouldn’t get a hearing, the speaker of the house got a hearing for an income tax exemption for doctors. The state of Oklahoma, the governor, the speaker of the house have made their intentions clear. They are not fighting for families,” said Rep. Shane Stone.
State Representative, Leslie Osborn, a Republican, is chair of the appropriations and budget committee.
“I scheduled a bill that Representative Dunnington had that was about overtime pay for state employees,” said Rep. Osborn.
She says she supports some of the things the Democrats are trying to do and does not believe this is a party issue.
“Most of the vast majority of the time it comes down to their personal opinion in their own district. So I don’t really think that’s the case or I wouldn’t be carrying the bill also as a republican that adds pay for state employees as much as I’m supporting the one that does for teachers,” said Rep. Osborn.
Democrats were also upset that the equal pay for women bill did not get a hearing.
The Democrats say they will continue working on these issues and are hopeful these bills can be heard again during the next legislative session.