Representatives of Oklahoma have been reviewing numerous bills with different versions of language pertaining to USFSPA issues.
With so many bills in play, it’s difficult to keep up. Can Oklahoma Representatives even differentiate between the bills, and is this good use of Oklahoma taxpayer dollars?
Three bills appear to have virtually the same goals, but contain minor variations:
A fourth USFSPA related bill, HB1951, would establish The Wounded Warrior Protection Act. It focuses on alimony and protecting pay received by wounded service members, but also slips in some USFSPA language. (HB2286 also has alimony language.)
Here’s some wording from the bills declaring calculation for the division of military retired pay:
- HB1951 reads: “…the court shall award an amount consistent with the rank, pay grade, and time of service of the member at the time of separation.“
- HB2286 reads: “… the court shall award an amount consistent with the rank, pay grade, and time of service of the member at the date of filing of the petition.“
- SB1887 reads: “… the court shall award an amount consistent with the rank, pay grade, and time of service of the member at the date of filing of the petition unless the court finds a more equitable date.“
Are Oklahoma representatives carefully reading these bills? Have they taken notice of the different wording and determined if each calculation would be pro-service member or pro-spouse? What if the service member has a line number for promotion? What if the service member is to pin on a new rank the day after separation? What is the rule for determining the “date of separation”?
At least the third wording, in SB1887, leaves the door open for a judge to make an exception for unusual circumstances.
Imagine the confusion if all bills pass as written.
But the main point is: Would it not be easier and cheaper to discuss the USFSPA issues all under one bill?
Has anyone asked Senator Steve Russell (whose name appears on all the bills) to justify why he needed to propose and spend Oklahoma taxpayer dollars on four different bills?
We hear about the federal government wasting taxpayers’ money. Well here’s an example of state level waste. How many hours have been spent reviewing, debating, amending, and transferring these different bills back and forth between the Oklahoma’s house and senate?