State of Oklahoma

House of Representatives


March 12, 2013


For immediate release

Contact: Rep. Jeannie McDaniel

(405) 557-7334

Bill in House kills Big Bird in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY- Public broadcasting will lose all public money if HB 2218 passes the House during deadline week.

House Bill 2218 will reduce appropriated funds until fiscal year 2022 to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, which broadcasts quality, commercial-free children’s, arts, and cultural programming. After 2022, OETA will no longer receive public funds.

“I don’t think this bill reflects the will of the people,” said Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa. “Public broadcasting is a rich cultural resource. People love what they get to watch on OETA and we all gain from having it. This bill is an attempt to suffocate one of the people of Oklahoma’s most valuable assets, which is already on life support from reduced appropriations from the legislature. Our constituents need to know about this bill and what we’ll lose if it passes.”

Currently, OETA only receives approximately a third of its funding, $3.8 million, from state appropriations.

“OETA is a highly valued organization, cherished by so many Oklahomans,” said McDaniel. “Legislators must be good stewards to protect this important education, entertainment, and history outlet. We must preserve this agency and work together with their board as we build for tomorrow’s audiences.”

“With that in mind,” said McDaniel. “Rather than HB2218, we should implement a process to carefully consider the role of OETA in our future. This jewel in Oklahoma’s crown is a collaboration of public/private funds. While the state of Oklahoma provides approximately 36 percent of the program’s funding, we must work together to assure the program’s continuance and look to a strong and healthy tomorrow.”