The bill filing deadline for legislation in Oklahoma Legislature is today, Jan. 18.

The legislative deadline for minor redraft requests for House bills and joint resolutions is at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, the deadline for Introduction of House bills and joint resolutions is at 4 p.m.

It will take some time for all the legislative bills to get filed into the system.

As usual, we expect a lot of bills will be introduced by lawmakers. In 2017, a total of 2,171 pieces of legislation were filed.

There could be as many as 3,000 bills filed in 2018. However, the budget is the only thing that really matters.

Unfortunately, finance officials can’t estimate what Oklahoma’s budget shortfall looks like until the Legislature figures out how to balance the current budget.

It remains about $111 million out of whack following a sweeping veto by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

Embarrassingly, the state’s budget outlook for this year has been uncertain since before Christmas.

Let’s stop this nonsense and get to business.

First and foremost, the Legislature should follow the law and fund education by April 1.

We’re calling for the legislators to pass the budget and adjourn early in 2018.

There is no reason to go the full 16 weeks, especially since lawmakers have been in special session since September. That’s ridiculous.

Let’s pledge to avoid sideshow politics in 2018. People are passionate about hot-button issues like abortion, guns and “right to farm.”

In the past, however, lawmakers have spent too much time dealing with matters that have been overturned by the courts because they are unconstitutional.

That’s a waste of time and money we don’t have.

Considering the frivolous bills and armada of lobbyists, we realize such a suggestion is probably fantasy.

But we can still dream.

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