Recovery from February’s historic winter storm has begun, and the Senate is focused on finding solutions to the high energy prices many may be facing after the brutal temperatures.
Senate and House leadership, the governor, attorney general, Corporation Commission and other state leaders announced they will look into the skyrocketing energy prices across Oklahoma due to the storm. The Secretary of Energy shared that most customers of the major utility and natural gas customers across the state shouldn’t see extremely high hikes in their bills like what’s been seen in Texas, but bills still could be higher based on increased energy consumption during the cold snap.
Rate-regulated energy companies, like OG&E, PSO and ONG, are working with the Corporation Commission to spread these increased costs over a long period of time to decrease the burden on customers in a single billing period. I’m grateful many of our electric and gas companies are working to limit the burden placed on Oklahomans after this unprecedented storm.
In the Senate, the Pro Tem has announced a select committee to look into issues spurred by the storm, like increased utility rates, the state of our electric grid and our preparedness for winter weather events. We want to take the necessary steps now to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.
We completed our committee work, with the exception of Appropriations, of which I am a member, this past week and now work towards our March 11 deadline to hear all of the approved Senate bills thus far on the floor. I’m proud to share that each of my bills that received a committee hearing were approved. I’ll keep you updated on the measures I’ve authored as they move through the process.
I received many calls from constituents asking me to support the Second Amendment Sanctuary Act, and I’m proud to share that I’ve signed on as a co-author of the bill. Senate Bill 631 passed out of the Public Safety Committee last week and would make Oklahoma a Second Amendment sanctuary state, meaning any future federally passed restrictive gun laws would not be applicable in our state. The Second Amendment makes it clear that citizens have the right to bear arms, and I’m a proud supporter of this right. I look forward to this measure being heard on the Senate floor and am very hopeful it will make it all the way to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Finally, I’d like to remind you all to give blood if you are able. Our state has already struggled with low blood supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this issue was further magnified during the winter storm when people were unable to donate due to hazardous conditions. The Oklahoma Blood Institute recently announced changes to donor eligibility requirements to allow more people to give blood. You can find the new requirements at www.obi.org. There are several blood drives already scheduled in Enid in early March – you can also find those listings online.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state Senator. Please feel free to reach out if there is anything we can help you with. You can contact me at 405-521-5630 or via email at Roland.Pederson@oksenate.gov.