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Teacher pay, job creation among 2017 agenda items for Okla. Senate Republicans

Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz and members of the Senate Republican Caucus announced their 2017 legislative agenda Thursday at the state Capitol. (Oklahoma State Senate)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KTUL) -- Oklahoma Senate Republicans plan to tackle the issue of teacher pay this legislative session.

President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz and the Senate Republican Caucus released the 2017 legislative agenda Thursday at media events in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

"Investing in future generations" is a topic slated for discussion in the coming months, with improving education and increasing teacher salaries as priorities.

Senate Republicans also plan to focus on job creation and economic growth, promoting access to health care in underserved communities and connecting veterans with health care and social service programs.

“Senate Republicans are united in our desire to implement ideas and policies that will help our state’s economy grow and put us on a long-term path to prosperity," said Schulz, R-Altus. "Helping our economy grow means more good-paying jobs for Oklahoma families and more resources to fund core government services without raising taxes."

The 2017 Senate Republican agenda is below:

A MORE PROSPEROUS OKLAHOMA

  • Streamline and eliminate excessive regulations to stimulate job creation and economic growth.
  • Provide more stability, reliability and transparency in the state budgeting process.
  • Promote economic development and the diversification of the state's economy.
  • Support transportation infrastructure including the eight-year plan.
  • Identify job-creating tax incentives, and eliminate ineffective tax incentives by supporting the work of the Incentive Evaluation Commission.

INVESTING IN FUTURE GENERATIONS

  • Respect and support teachers by removing obstacles that interfere with a teacher's ability to help students learn and achieve.
  • Reduce administrative costs and overhead in an effort to increase teacher salaries.
  • Allow parents, taxpayers and local school boards to more closely direct and increase the quality of education in the classroom.
  • Ensure accountability measures provide parents and taxpayers a useful and accurate reflection of school performance and student achievement.

A SAFER OKLAHOMA

  • Support law enforcement officers and the rights of the citizens they are sworn to protect.
  • Monitor the implementation of criminal justice reforms.
  • Provide oversight of law enforcement agencies and promote cooperation to eliminate duplication.

A HEALTHIER OKLAHOMA

  • Promote access to quality health care services, especially for rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma.
  • Encourage "block grant" programs from federal government that empower Oklahoma to infuse free-market principles into health care plans.
  • Reduce waste and duplication at health care agencies, and utilize innovative health care delivery methods.
  • Work with private and public sector partners to address mental health and substance abuse issues.

PROTECTING CHILDREN AND SUPPORTING FAMILIES

  • Improve foster care and adoption services in Oklahoma, and strengthen support for foster families.
  • Reform social service programs sot hey offer economic mobility and help end dependency on government assistance.
  • Eliminate restrictions on non-profits and faith-based organizations that help fill the gaps in social services.
  • Continue Oklahoma's commitment to defending the sanctity of life.

SUPPORTING VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES

  • Work to minimize licensing challenges for military spouses due to relocation.
  • Support public-private partnerships to develop a comprehensive health care system.
  • Ensure Oklahoma veterans are connected with existing mental health and social service programs.
  • Increase protection of service members' financial and contractual rights when mobilized or deployed.

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