Oklahoma Bar Journal

Legislative Kickoff - Session Started Feb. 6

By Shanda McKenney

Day at the CapitolThe 2024 OBA Legislative Kickoff was held on Feb. 2. Given the volume of important bills to be reviewed and considered, 10 different speakers offered information on 10 different subject matter areas for our membership. Many thanks and much appreciation to our presenters: Stacy Acord (family law), Jason Reese (civil litigation), Teena Gunter (government), Ed Blau (criminal law), Veronica Laizure (election law), Judge Thad Balkman (courts), Rhonda McLean (real property/trusts and estates), Kaylee David-Maddy (energy and environment), Jessica Sherrill (education law), Amber Peckio (cannabis law) and Clay Taylor (using the Legislature’s website). And, of course, a huge thank you to all the bar staff on hand who helped with unexpected bumps in the scheduling, particularly Director of Educational Programs Gigi McCormick.

In addition to the substantive bills that were presented, attendees were also treated to a candid conversation with a panel of three lawyer-legislators, moderated by Jari Askins, administrative director of the courts. Panelists included Sen. Kay Floyd, Sen. Brent Howard and House Majority Leader Rep. Jon Echols. It was noted how few attorneys there are in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature and the obstacles that sometimes present when legislating. Panelists also discussed their individual goals for the upcoming session, as well as which issues they think will be “hot topics” for their respective caucuses and committees. Both Sen. Floyd and Rep. Echols are term-limited, making this their last session.

The OBA Legislative Monitoring Committee is committed to bringing laws and legislation of particular interest to attorneys and their clients to the attention of the membership at large. Any OBA member can join the committee, just submit a request via the OBA’s website at www.okbar.org/committees/committee-sign-up. Receive committee updates via the Communities page, which is where the tracking list of introduced legislation exists for the 2024 legislative session. The mission of our committee is education and awareness without editorializing the issues or taking positions on pending legislation. A democratic republic functions best when the electorate is as well-informed as possible about the issues. Please take a moment to review the list of bills we’ve provided, and let your legislator know if you have any personal input on pending matters.

Our next event is OBA Day at the Capitol, which will be held on March 26, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Oklahoma Bar Center. Following presentations by several speakers regarding the status of the session at that time and various other topics related to the functioning of Oklahoma government, attendees will be encouraged to walk over to the Capitol to visit with the legislators from their particular districts and offer their services as a resource for substantive issues relating to pending legislation. Our biggest event of 2024 will be the Legislative Debrief, which typically occurs in August, but this year will be held during the OBA Annual Meeting in July. The form and substance should be very similar to debriefs of years prior, and we also intend to continue offering the programming as free CLE. Please stay tuned for more information on this event!

To make suggestions for future programming or to volunteer to speak on legislation within a certain practice area, please email me at shanda.mckenney.kkv6@statefarm.com or my co-chair, Teena Gunter, at teena.gunter@ag.ok.gov.

Author’s Note: Any views or opinions expressed herein are those of the author individually and are not intended to reflect those of Christina D. Stone & Associates or any State Farm Insurance company.


Shanda McKenney is a co-chair of the Legislative Monitoring Committee. She is a practicing attorney with Christina D. Stone & Associates, employees of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.



Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar JournalOBJ 95 No. 3 (March 2024)

Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.