The House spent much of 2020 and 2021 working on legislative redistricting, and with the recent release of finalized data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the time has now come to finalize Oklahoma’s legislative and congressional districts for the next decade.
The data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that Oklahoma grew 5.5% and has a statewide population of 3,959,353 as of April 1, 2020.
The ideal district population for each House district is 39,202. Each Senate district aims to be home to 82,487 individuals, and each congressional district should represent nearly 791,900 people.
The House and Senate redistricting offices completed the summer town hall tour across the state and are still accepting public comments on congressional districts. Map submissions from the public will also be accepted. Instructions for submitting a redistricting plan have been posted on the redistricting website here: https://okhouse.gov/Publications/PublicMapSub.aspx.
While the statewide population didn’t change much from the 2019 data we used for legislative redistricting, the population shift around the state was more dramatic than estimated. As a result, many of the legislative districts enacted in the House redistricting plan, House Bill 1198, will need to be adjusted in special session. We anticipate returning to the Capitol for special session in late October or November.
Until time for special session, legislators are focusing on interim studies, which will start in the next few weeks. There are several upcoming studies being held soon that I am interested in because of their relevance to the people of House District 33.
On Aug. 31, Reps. Mark Lawson and Meloyde Blancett will host an interim study on nonviolent criminal behavior punishment alternatives to incarceration. They hope to identify the costs of these alternatives compared to incarceration to see if there are proven methods that are effective and cost appropriate.
On the morning of Aug. 30, Rep. Trey Caldwell will host an interim study examining existing rural economic development tax incentive programs, with a specific focus on the agribusiness and rural jobs program implemented in Georgia and how that may work here in Oklahoma.
Medical marijuana and agriculture is a pressing issue right now, and several representatives are organizing an interim study to examine this in depth. The study, which will run Aug. 30-31, will explore the concerns for agriculture arising from the sudden increase of medical marijuana production. Specific topics to be discussed include land scarcity and prices, the vanishing work force and labor trafficking, and limitations of rural utilities.
These are concerns that I have heard directly from constituents about.
All interim studies are open to the public. For those interested in tuning in but unable to join in person, every interim study can be livestreamed on the House website under the “Media” tab by clicking on the “House Audio/Video” link. On that page, the link to the study be labeled with the name of the committee and will go live shortly before the study begins.
More information about interim studies can be found on the House website, www.okhouse.gov, by visiting the “Committees” tab and following the “Interim Studies” link.
As always, please reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you may have. You can contact me at email@example.com and (405) 557-7304. Thank you for allowing me to serve House District 33!
Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.