The Senate and House JCAB Committees both met Thursday with SB1580-a bill to reduce credits available in the Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act on their agendas.
In the House JCAB, the bill was laid over (meaning a vote was not taken, however, it can still be heard at a later meeting of the Committee. Our Executive Director, Keili McEwen, hit the ground running yesterday. Keili and others were able to effectively communicate to Legislators that the language in Sections L1 and L2 related to the $2M and $1.5M caps would essentially be a “default” on the part of the state and may be unconstitutional due to the credits already being allocated. After the lengthy discussion related to the two caps and potential legal questions, the House Committee made the decision to lay the bill.
The bill will likely be reintroduced with only the $3M cap effective January 1, 2017. For some time, this has been the general understanding of the cuts due to the budget shortfall.
In the Senate JCAB Committee, the bill was initially laid over after a scenario similar to the House JCAB. However, the issue was taken up again at the end of the meeting and SB1580 passed with a vote of 30-6. There is an understanding that it will only move forward if a trailer bill is introduced with only the $3M cap included and the retroactive caps removed.
Many in the Legislature considered SB1580 an easy pass so we consider this a victory. Our message was heard and we made an impact.
The Coalition will continue to work diligently to ensure that we only see the $3M cap moving forward, however, all those in the affordable housing need to stay aware of the proceedings at the Capitol and be prepared to contact your Legislator at a moment’s notice.
Please note that JCAB bills do not have deadlines so they often move very fast. You may consider signing up for Bill Tracker on the Legislature’s website: http://oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=SB1580.
Please contact Keili McEwen at ocah if you have any questions.