I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a happy New Year. First and foremost, I am thankful and honored to serve House District 13 for the next two years!

Nov. 16, I arrived at Oklahoma City to take the oath of office with my fellow House members. Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Darby administered the oath.

This year, the House has 81 Republicans and 20 Democrats, and I am one of 16 new members. I look forward to working with my fellow legislators this upcoming session to accomplish great things for Oklahoma!

I am very grateful for my wife, Nicole, and our six children, who have continuously supported me as I serve my community in this new role.

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, I returned to Oklahoma City for Organizational Day, when the House and ‎Senate members are formally seated and officially elect leadership for the coming two years. ‎Members also adopted House rules to govern how we conduct business in our chamber for ‎the ‎next two sessions of the Legislature.‎

We elected Rep. Charles McCall as the Speaker of the House for this fourth term, extending his ‎run as the longest-serving speaker in state history. We also elected Rep. Kyle Hilbert as the ‎Speaker of the House Pro Tempore for his first full term. I could not ask for better leadership, and I am grateful for their service to the state.

Members are currently working with legal staff to draft substantive ‎‎language for each piece of legislation, which must be formally filed by Jan. 19.

House members will spend the month of January hearing from the heads of Oklahoma's 10 ‎‎biggest state agencies. These meetings are in preparation for budget negotiations during session. ‎Agency heads will present their requested budgets and explain their reasoning for budget ‎increases, and legislators can question how they have spent their ‎budget in years past. These meetings are open to the public and are live-streamed on the House website. ‎

‎Session will officially begin on Feb. 6.

Again, thank you for electing me to serve District 13. I am looking forward to a great session!‎

It is truly an honor and privilege to represent you at the State Capitol. 

Rep. Neil Hays, a Republican, serves District 13 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers McIntosh, Muskogee and Wagoner counties. Reach him at (405) 557-7302 or neil.hays@okhouse.gov.

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