Legislative Update
Jerry Cook
Director, Community and Government Relations
Northeastern State University
July 25, 2014

Educators and education administrators from across Oklahoma lobbied for the preservation of education funding during this legislative session’s budgetary hearings. The legislature eventually approved a budget that gave common education a small increase but one that will not address unfunded mandates for FY2015, or allow for any additional staffing.  The higher education budget was maintained as "flat" at last year's level. Considered a win for higher education, the financial landscape still remains daunting as institutions must grapple with the cost of utilities, health care benefits and other operating costs that continue to out-pace allocated funding and revenues.

Both from the state and federal perspectives, this mid-term election cycle typically slows legislative progress until after the November elections.  During this lull, NSU continues its regional outreach. President Steve Turner represents NSU by serving on the board of  the Tulsa Regional Chamber OneVoice program that builds on regional priorities at all levels of government.  The collective input and consensus of almost 400 regional community leaders, public and private foundations, business and professional groups provides strength in numbers for those initiatives and issues that will benefit NSU and the region.  The 2015 OneVoice agenda will be finalized in September and will be the compass that will help guide the region in establishing public policy in 2015.  NSU has identified more than 46,000 NSU alumni who live, work or are retired in northeastern Oklahoma’s 23 counties.  Collectively, OneVoice is a strong voice for Northeastern State University and an ever-growing platform for regional development.

We will continue to keep our alumni up-to-date with our regional development activities and welcome any feedback you'd like to give.